Linda Björkhem-Bergman's research group of Palliative Medicin

Our research group conducts research in Palliative Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology. The research group started at the Department of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS, in January 2018 and we have our clinical base at Stockholm Sjukhem, Dept of Palliative Medicine. The research group consists of me Linda, as Principal Investigator, and my PhD student Caritha Klasson och my postdoc Helena Bergström and two post-docs who work part time with research, Gabriella Frisk, MD, PhD, and Maria Helde-Frankling, MD, PhD.

The goal of our research is to find new pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to improve the quality of life and reduce the symptom burden in end-of-life patients. We mainly conduct clinical studies where the research issues come from our daily clinical work in palliative care. We also have translational and experimental projects in collaboration with several different research groups at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, KI. My main focus in recent years has been to investigate the possible positive effects of vitamin D treatment on cancer patients and the effects of vitamin D on the immune system. We also have projects on the function of the immune system at the end of life, evaluation of infection treatments in palliative cancer care, projects on nutrition, treatment options for cancer related fatigue, various aspects of drug treatment in palliative care with a focus on gender differences and  drug metabolism in end-of-life patients.

Research group leader

About me

My background

I am MD since 2001 and defended my PhD-thesis in Experimental Pathology in 2004 at the Karolinska Institutet. The project involved carcinogenesis studies in animal models and cell-culturing of multi-drug resistant cells with focus on selenium compounds and selenoenzymes. During my post-doc time (2009-2012) at Dept of Clinical Pharmacology I expanded my knowledge about drug metabolism with focus on statins. During my Residency at Clinical Pharmacology (ST-läkare) (2006-2013). I started working with clinical research and with Phase I and II studies at the Clinical Trial Unit. I finished my Specialist Training in Clinical Pharmacology 2012 and I am since 2013 Associate Professor (Docent) in Clinical Pharmacology. Since 2013 I am working in the field of Palliative Medicine and I am Senior Consultant (Överläkare) at Stockholms Sjukhem, Dept of Palliative Medicine. Since 2021  I also have a Specialist degree in Palliative Medicine.


Current Research Profile

In 2018 I started up my own research group in Palliative Medicine at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS, KI. Our overall aim is to find new pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies to improve the quality of life in end-of-life patients. We perform clinical trials in the palliative care setting but also have some pre-clinical projects in immunology and pharmacology in collaborations with researcher at Dept of Laboratory Medicine, KI.

A main focus during recent years has been on the role of Vitamin D in the immune system and possible beneficial effects of treating Vitamin D- deficiency in cancer patients in order to improve symptom management. Other projects involves immunity in end-of-life patients, cancer related fatigue, prognostication in palliative care, the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in palliative home-care, pharmacological issues with focus on sex-differences, the use of alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) as well as different aspects of nutrition in palliative care.



Members during spring 2023

Johan Fridegren - PhD student

Charlotte Goodrose-Flores - Postdoc


Ongoing Research Projects

• Palliative D - a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of vitamin D treatment to palliative cancer patients

• The function of the immune system in end-of-life

• Studies of cancer-induced fatigue - etiology and possible treatments

• Drug metabolism in end-of-life

• Drug treatment in palliative care – when och how should be terminate cardiovascular preventive medicines?

• Cortisone treatment in Palliative Cancer Care

• How can we best conduct randomized studies in palliative care and thus contribute to more evidence-based treatments? Qualitative interview studies with patients, next-of-kin and healthcare professionals.



  • ALF Project grants 
  • Cancerfonden (The Swedish Cancer Society)
  • Vetenskapsrådet

Utvalda publikationer

Sex-Differences in Discontinuation of Statin Treatment in Cancer Patients the Year before Death.
Frisk G, Bergström H, Helde Frankling M, Björkhem-Bergman L
Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2021 Apr;14(4):

Fatigue in Cancer Patients in Palliative Care-A Review on Pharmacological Interventions.
Klasson C, Helde Frankling M, Lundh Hagelin C, Björkhem-Bergman L
Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb;13(5):

Equal effect of vancomycin lock with or without heparin in treatment of central venous catheter related blood stream infections - an observational study in palliative home care.
Ranch-Lundin M, Schedin A, Björkhem-Bergman L
Infect Dis (Lond) 2021 May;():1-5

High-protein compared with standard parenteral nutrition in palliative cancer care.
Goodrose-Flores C, Schedin A, Nelander J, Almerud A, Trolle-Lagerros Y, Bonn S, Björkhem-Bergman L
BMJ Support Palliat Care 2020 May;():

Catheter-related bloodstream infections in palliative care patients receiving parenteral nutrition by medical home care.
Schedin A, Goodrose-Flores C, Bonn S, Björkhem-Bergman L
BMJ Support Palliat Care 2020 Sep;():

Are Vitamin D3 Tablets and Oil Drops Equally Effective in Raising S-25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations? A Post-Hoc Analysis of an Observational Study on Immunodeficient Patients.
Helde Frankling M, Norlin AC, Hansen S, Wahren Borgström E, Bergman P, Björkhem-Bergman L
Nutrients 2020 Apr;12(5):

Vitamin D and Fatigue in Palliative Cancer: A Cross-Sectional Study of Sex Difference in Baseline Data from the Palliative D Cohort.
Klasson C, Helde-Frankling M, Sandberg C, Nordström M, Lundh-Hagelin C, Björkhem-Bergman L
J Palliat Med 2021 Mar;24(3):433-437

Death at home: predictive factors in a medical home care unit.
Rasch-Westin M, Helde-Frankling M, Björkhem-Bergman L
BMJ Support Palliat Care 2019 Sep;():

Differences in discontinuation of statin treatment in women and men with advanced cancer disease.
Bergström H, Brånvall E, Helde-Frankling M, Björkhem-Bergman L
Biol Sex Differ 2018 10;9(1):47

Vitamin D supplementation to persistent carriers of MRSA-a randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Björkhem-Bergman L, Missailidis C, Karlsson-Valik J, Tammelin A, Ekström L, Bottai M, et al
Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 2018 Sep;37(9):1735-1744

Vitamin D supplementation to palliative cancer patients: protocol of a double-blind, randomised controlled trial 'Palliative-D'.
Helde-Frankling M, Bergqvist J, Klasson C, Nordström M, Höijer J, Bergman P, et al
BMJ Support Palliat Care 2017 Dec;7(4):458-463








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