Translational Cancer Research

The unit Translational Cancer Research is headed by Professor Nils Brünner from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology at the University of Copenhagen. The unit is part of The Danish Cancer Society Research Center.

Professor Nils Brünner

The unit is a collaboration between the Danish Cancer Society and the University of Copenhagen, bringing together some of the best researchers in Denmark in a concerted effort with a special emphasis on translating basic research results to the clinic, to test them in patients in order to develop new and better treatments against cancer.

Historic collaboration

The University of Copenhagen as well as the Danish Cancer Society attach great expectations to this historic collaboration. The aim is to combine and utilise the knowledge possessed by the researchers from two of the largest cancer research environments in Denmark. The unit will also contribute towards creating a stronger link between basic research in the laboratories and the patients at the hospitals.

Close contact with the patients

Research often sets out in the laboratory, creating new knowledge about e.g. the development of cancer cells, metastasis, or treatment resistance. But the results must be translated from the laboratory into the clinic - be examined in patients and hopefully used to produce new and better types of treatment against cancer - what we call patient oriented research.

Research projects:

Results from laboratory research must reach patients as quickly as possible and be used to improve cancer treatment

Breast cancer and markers for chemotherapy

Already, several collaborative projects have been established between the relevant research units.

A research project was initiated some years ago as a close collaboration between the researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Professor Jiri Bartek's unit at the Danish Cancer Society with the aim of examining the significance of promising chemotherapeutical markers on a large material from Danish patients.

Colon cancer and DNA repair mechanisms

The group from the University of Copenhagen has developed human colon cancer cell cultures that are resistant to chemotherapy. This research has already contributed significantly to the knowledge about the development of resistance, and the results point towards a connection with DNA repair mechanisms in cancer cells.

Jiri Bartek's unit therefore plans to map the DNA repair mechanisms within these cell cultures. The aim is partly to achieve a better understanding of the background for development of resistance and partly to generate new biomarkers predicting the development of resistance. The results will subsequently be examined in patient material.

The collaboration with Professor Marja Jäättelä may provide better understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling resistant cancer cells.

Cell death and resistance

The group from the University of Copenhagen has also focused on the protein TIMP-1 in connection with cell death due to chemotherapy. In this connection the group was aided by Professor Marja Jäättelä's research unit Cell Death and Metabolism at the Danish Cancer Society Research Center.

This collaboration might in the future profit from being extended to cover further investigations of the mechanisms connected to cell death (apoptosis) in the sensitive, resistant cell cultures developed by the group from the University of Copenhagen.

This collaboration may increase the synergy between the different research areas, and provide a better overall understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling the cancer cells that turn resistant towards treatments. This knowledge may provide the foundation for new and better treatments against cancer.