Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, professor in medical Microbial Pathogenesis at Karolinska Institutet. Her research team has made several breakthroughs in cancer research since last fall. Their results are applying now together a single virus infection with cancer in many different organs.
A research team led by Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér has made several breakthroughs in cancer research over the last six months. Their results are applying now together a single virus infection with cancer in many organs, such as the brain, breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, ovaries and uterus.
Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér and her research team have discovered that active cytomegalovirus (CMV) can play a crucial role in many cancers. It is shown very often in cancer tissue but not in healthy tissue of these cancer patients. Much is now talking to a certain virus variant affects the onset and progression of cancer, and therefore appears not to be a side effect of tumour disease.
— Our research team has treated tumors in animal models with anti-viral medicines with good effect and also has performed the world’s first study of humans with anti-viral drugs as adjunct therapy for brain tumor patients. The results are currently being evaluated, “says Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér.
Allocation of Lundberg’s Research Foundation could not have been more timely. A contract with the firm that sells scanning microscope concluded the evening before our conversation and Cecilia is still euphoric after a tough tender process. Her research team will be the first in Stockholm about owning such a computer controlled microscope with super high resolution.
— Now we can do a lot more reliable analyses. It will certainly be a hundred times more efficient than the methods we used to date when we counted all the cells by hand in standard Microsoft. In addition, it is possible to load scanning microscope with 210 preparations running during the night, followed by a computerized image analysis. It allows for objective and efficient calculations on a large amount of cells which otherwise is not possible.
Cecilia and colleagues can hardly wait until the equipment is in place. Fortunately, they borrow demo copy while waiting for a delivery of a new scanning microscopes from the tsunami-affected Japan.
— You can hardly describe how much it means for our research. With the new technology, we increase the security in our results. Right now it’s funding from Lai and Söderberg foundations and, to some extent, the Swedish Cancer Society that carries our research on CMV and cancer. A donation from RATOS also led to an expansion in bröstcancerprojektet last year. So it is just.
She would like to take this opportunity to highlight the problem that many experimental researchers wrestle with in Sweden. The State has determined that the equipment will be paid for by the universities themselves, but this does not happen in practice.
When mobile phones are watching Cecilia on number and says it is the nanny, ‘ I have to take. Hi, daycare closes at a quarter to four today and there are monkfish and salmon to cook for dinner. See you tonight “.
— We have had the same nanny for eleven years, without her it would have been difficult, says trebarnsmamman.
But back to the cancer findings. Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér looks with confidence that her research team’s work in the short term can lead to better understanding of how CMV infections causes cancer. It also means completely new treatment options for patients with cancerous tumors.
Seven of 10 Swedes are carriers of the CMV virus, belonging to the family of herpes viruses, but have it resting in different cells of the body. When you suffer from a severe infection, or impairment of the immune system, the virus can become active and start to produce inflammation-promoting molecules. Cecilia has for many years in his research revealed what happens in human cells when the virus produces these substances. The active virus is listed as a factor in a number of other diseases, including, it is believed that the virus plays a role in arteriosclerosis and myocardial infarction, psoriasis and rheumatoid diseases.
But when she saw the real biological link between viral infection and cancer — an aha-insight that fell in place as recently as last fall; four days after she and her mentor Erna Möller lectured together in Portugal and had an unusually in-depth conversations throughout the flight home — she has chosen to put almost all the research force within his team on this.
“We have a lot of unpublished material on the way out and we learn so much when we test this hypothesis. It’s a great feeling to be involved as a researcher. Now, I hope that our results will carry us all the way to the finish. It provides great opportunities for new diagnostics and treatments for many cancer patients, and hope for a brighter future.
Text: Monica Havström