Research group Mikael Björnstedt

The main focus of the research group involves translational and clinical studies on the use of redox-active selenium compounds as cancer chemotherapeutics.

Cancer is a devastating disease with more than 1.25 million deaths yearly within the EU. The prevalence is increasing over the years. Despite improvements in the treatment of some cancers, there are no or very limited options to treat a large group of patients, particularly those diagnosed with cancer of the visceral organs. The latter group are characterized by advanced stage of disease upon diagnosis and inherent resistance to conventional cancer chemotherapy.

The research group focuses on targeting the redox axis of cancer cells survival - a relatively new cancer chemotherapeutic strategy. Certain redox-active selenium compounds have unique properties to target the redox imbalance and other survival pathways in cancer cells, hence “multi-target” in nature. These compounds can also efficiently kill tumour cells that are highly resistant to conventional cancer chemotherapy.

The group has an excellent national and international network with complementing expertise in order to perform preclinical studies and clinical trials. We have established advanced organotypic slice culture models, applicable to a large group of tumours, for studying the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of candidate chemotherapeutics with possible applications in personalized medicine.

The main projects:

  1. Clinical trials exploring the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety and efficacy of selenium compounds in the treatment of cancer.
  2. Studying the modes and mechanisms of anti-tumour actions of natural and synthetic selenium compounds and development of new strategies to increase the efficacy these selenium compounds in pre-clinical studies.
  3. Mechanistic studies focusing on drug actions and how selenium compounds specifically kill tumour cells.


Selected publications

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group

Research techniques

  • Cell and tissue culture
  • Biochemical methods (enzymology, functional assessment of transcription factors, assay development)
  • Transcriptomics and proteomics
  • Histology and Immunohistochemistry