Greater precision gives improved cancer care

​A paradigm shift is underway in approaches to cancer treatment. As we are now able to analyse each individual tumour cell in minute detail, it is increasingly evident that every kind of cancer can be divided into several variants, each of which should be attacked with a tailored treatment.

One of Karolinska Institutet’s strengths in the cancer field is its basic research into what causes cancer cells to develop in the first place, knowledge that is vital to the development of future therapies and drugs.

Modern cancer research is increasingly multidisciplinary. In this respect, Karolinska Institutet is particularly well positioned with its close proximity to Karolinska University Hospital’s highly specialised care and large patient volumes. Sweden’s unique registries also give us excellent opportunities to conduct large-scale population studies and drug trials.

Our researchers have conducted many successful studies that have already had a positive impact on the treatment of different cancers. For example, we were actively involved in the research that laid the groundwork for the now widespread HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, and the studies that enable the prophylactic treatment of women at particularly high risk of breast cancer.



Cancer is still the cause of much suffering and premature death both nationally and internationally. In 2014, more than 60,000 new cancer diagnoses were made in Sweden alone, and soon one in every two Swedes will be affected by cancer at some point during their lives. The most common forms of cancer in Sweden are breast, prostate, skin and colon/rectal cancer.

What all of these and many other cancer forms have in common is a prognosis that improves with early discovery and effective treatment. Today, medical science is well able to improve both diagnostics and treatment leading to cures and the alleviation of suffering. To this end, every
contribution is valuable.