Emerging research programme gets financing from Novo Nordisk

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The newly established research programme, ’Programme for Translational Hematology’, has just received DKK 100 million (€135000) in funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The aim is to strengthen the cooperation between basic research and clinical practice, to gain new knowledge on leukaemia and to make a concentrated effort to develop and test new forms of treatment.

Professor Kristian Helin at DanStem and Biotech Research & Innovation Center (BRIC) is at the head of the new programme, which focusses in particular on identifying new forms of treatment of the leukaemia forms AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) and MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome).

The research programme located at the University of Copenhagen and falls under The Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem), which since its formation in 2010 has focussed on basic research primarily. The researchers have determined how stem cells in the laboratory can be forced to develop in a particular direction and identified the role played by cancer stem cells in the development of various forms of cancer. Now the centre is ready to take the next step and translate the research results into new, more targeted and efficient forms of treatment.

DanStem has previously consisted of two sections: the Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Section for Translational Stem Cell Research and Therapy funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. In connection with the new grant the two sections will be merged into one centre called the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology, Danstem

‘I look forward to getting started, and I will be really busy. The great support of the programme from all sides, from the university environment to the clinical research done at Rigshospitalet and the Novo Nordisk Foundation, is amazing. The programme is first and foremost a main step in bridging the divide between basic research and clinical research, and we will draw on the best professional expertise from both environments. Hopefully this will enable us to meet our main objective, which is to help patients suffering from leukaemia’, says Professor Kristian Helin ‘The pre-clinical trials and basic research are main parts of our overall goal of finding new targets for the development of new medicine. At the same time, we want to look ahead and identify new methods when we know how the various forms of leukaemia develop. We want to take our research all the way from basic research to clinical trials on human subjects’

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