The aim is to develop and optimize precision therapy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to prolong survival, prevent multidrug resistance and reduce long-term toxicity. Our research is conducted in 5 separate areas (A-E), with senior team leaders for B-E.
Research area A: multicenter clinical trials on new drugs in CLL
A clinical part of our research activity where we often are national PI within global phase 2 or 3 trials in CLL. Examples of publications: Brown J et al N Engl J Med 2023, Hillmen P et al J Clin Oncol 2023, Tam C et al Lancet Oncol 2022.
Research area B: Exploring new targets and developing new drugs.
Team leader Mohammad Hojjat-Farsangi, PhD, senior researcher.
We have a current focus on ROR1, an embryonic antigen expressed by many tumor types but abundant on most normal cells. Extensive characterization of ROR1 is performed and first-in-class small molecule inhibitors of ROR1 are developed in collaboration with Kancera AB (Solna Science Park). Another focus is TME (tumor microenvironment) and in particular nurse-like cells, that are inhibited in vitro by drug-mediated interference with the fractalkine axis. Examples of publications: Ghaderi A et al, EjHaem 2021, and Pharmaceutics 2022.
Research area C: Immune regulation of B cell malignancies.
Team leader: Marzia Palma, MD, PhD, assoc. prof.
We perform in-depth analysis of immunoregulatory cell populations preferentially in patients with CLL and Hodgkin’s disease. An important part is monitoring of immune functions during targeted therapies such as BTK-inhibitors and Bcl-2 inhibitors in patients. Examples of publications: Palma M et al, Front Immunol 2021, Mulder T el al, HemaSphere 2021 and 2022, Andersson M et al, Eur J Haematol 2023.
Research area D: Academic clinical trials using targeted precision therapeutics in B cell malignancies.
Team leader: Jeanette Lundin, MD, PhD, assoc. prof.
The aim is to develop optimized chemotherapy-free treatment regimens, including but not limited to BTK and Bcl-2 inhibitors. An important project is the ongoing ibrutinib “On-Off-Repeat” phase 2 study, with the aim to reduce the risk of acquired resistance (BTK-mutation) and long-term side effects. Another study explores pre-emptive therapy in early-stage high-risk CLL. Examples of publications: Lundin J et al EjHaem 2021, Ma S et al, Leuk Res 2022.
Research area E: Real-world evidence studies on new precision therapies and anti-viral immunology in CLL.
Team leader: Lotta Hansson, MD, PhD, assoc.prof.
Here we aim to describe the true effects of new (high-cost) targeted therapeutics in a wider population of patients treated real-world i.e. outside clinical trials that often recruit selected patients. Real-world evidence (RWE) is of major importance for patients, health care professionals and society as a whole. We also study viral immunology, currently with a focus on SARS-CoV-2, in CLL including mRNA vaccination. Examples of recent publications: Bergman P et al eBioMedicine 2021, Blixt L et al Leukemia 2022 and Blood 2022, Matsson A et al, Eur J Haematol 2023 and Blood Neoplasia 2024.