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LifeGene – a national study of global significance

Karolinska Institutet has received donations of SEK 45 and 50 million respectively from the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations and AFA Insurance for LifeGene, the major national study initiated by KI.

Infections, asthma, allergies, inflammatory diseases, mental diseases and diseases of the bones and musculoskeletal system are our most common diseases. They are also the most costly to society. Paradoxically, our knowledge of these diseases, which have either an early or mid-life onset, is very limited; we know that heredity as well as environment and lifestyle have a part to play in their pathogenesis, but we do not know how these factors interrelate and affect each other.

Karolinska Institutet’s LifeGene study is a national collaboration project designed to build a resource for research in all medical disciplines, facilitating new, groundbreaking research into the links between genes, environment and lifestyle. The study is an internationally unique initiative incorporating half a million Swedes that will create new tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the most common diseases.

“Since LifeGene focuses on diseases that affect us in middle age, we believe that this study will not only generate knowledge that can help to reduce personal suffering but will also lower the rate of absence from work,” says Torgny Wännström, CEO of AFA Insurance. “The fact that LifeGene is a national collaboration project clinched it for us in our donation decision. It’s a study that will benefit all our interests.”

“The Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations have a long association with medical research in Sweden and to Karolinska Institutet,” says foundations director Edvard Söderberg. “We are therefore pleased now to be able to contribute the largest single donation in our history to a project that is so clearly based on collective national knowledge in medical research.”