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Tips from an insider: Five innovative tech startups

Tips from an insider: Stockholm tech start-ups

5 hot life science firms in Stockholm

Stockholm's top five infrastructure projects

Four Stockholm-based ICT firms to watch

Stockholm pioneers life science research

ICT startups offer investment opportunity

Swedish companies ready for exit

Five med-tech investment opportunities

Six cleantech investment opportunities

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Rankings and surveys

Sweden tops English-language skills ranking

Sweden ranked world's best country to grow old

Swedish passport world's best for travellers

Sweden second best country for mothers

Stockholm climbs in competitiveness rankings

Sweden among best countries to be born

Fortune: 'Stockholm top place for startups'

Sweden tops first global Web Index

Sweden world's second most innovative country

Stockholm world's 6th 'best city'

'Cool Stockholm' most competitive Nordic capital

Sweden has (second) best reputation in the world

Sweden among top in Internet download speed

Sweden scores highest in 'Rule of law index'

Stockholm world's No1 in intellectual capital

Sweden the world's most ICT-competitive country

Sweden great place for moms – but Norway better

Swedes place 4th in English skills ranking

Sweden among top ICT countries

Sweden’s 10 greenest brands

‘Sweden needs to sell itself more’

Sweden overtakes the US in competitiveness

Sweden 10th ‘most admired country globally’

Sweden climbs in 'doing business' ranking

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

Sweden's mortality rates world's second lowest

Sweden a good place to die – but Britain is best

Children in Sweden have best lives

Sweden the most competitive EU nation

Safe to do business with Swedes

How Sweden became an innovation frontrunner

Nordic countries world's most food-secure

Sweden the world’s best country – politically

Swedish firms among world's top brands

Swedish brands climb in global ranking

Sweden tops government ranking - while US lags 

'Swedish model' outranks 'American dream'  

Sweden among world's least corrupt nations

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Swedish team delivers cancer breakthrough

A team of researchers from five Swedish universities have made a remarkable breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, with an equally innovative source of funding.

Led by Karolinska Institutet and the Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm, the team has made inhibitors that kill cancer cells but not normal cells.

"We are first to show this new way of targeting cancer and this is likely going to be the major path for drug development in the future," said Thomas Helleday, holder of the Söderberg Professorship at Karolinska Institutet, who heads the study.

Until now, most modern anti-cancer drugs have been tailored to target the genetic makeup of the cancer – a so-called personalized treatment. Sometimes this can have a long-lasting effect, but more often than not the cancers mutate to become resistant. What the team has managed to do is to target an enzyme that is required for all cancer cells for survival, but that normal cells do not need.

Helleday explained that the treatment - which comes in the form of a pill - can kill any cancer and does not have any severe side effects.

"Some say our finding sounds too good to be true, and I understand their gut feeling after seeing so many promising cancer treatments fail," he said. "My research group has made paradigm shifts before and to those skeptics I say: just sit back and enjoy the revolution!"

What's also revolutionary is the way the research is financed, through "open innovation" and "crowd sourcing".

"I started a public foundation that owns all intellectual property and the idea is that we manufacture large amounts of the drug and provide it for free to the worldwide academic community, so they can design their own clinical trials and run them", Helleday said.

"Also, as there is a public foundation behind the drug, it will not be used to enrich a few individuals, but be used for further work on new medicines."

A lot of work remains to be done before it is time for clinical trials, which are still a year or two away, Helleday said.

Being based in Stockholm brings many advantages, including a number of highly trained drug developers looking for new challenges, he said.

"A major point is that Swedish Universities do not claim or take control on intellectual property, allowing us to donate it to a public foundation," Helleday said.

"Another advantage is the collaborative nature of Swedes. We collaborated with five different universities to progress the project, which would have been difficult elsewhere."

Their concept is presented in two articles in science journal Nature, with the aim of spreading the word to as many as possible in the research community.

"It has generated interest from academics across the world, to try the new concept on the cancer indication they have specialized in," Helleday said.

The team has also sent out the compound to hundreds of scientists across the globe in an effort to increase the speed of innovation and to reach the goal of curing cancer more quickly. By freely sending out compounds, they have increased competition.

 "Hundreds of scientists are advancing more quickly than one and we increase the chances of overall success," Helleday said.


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This article was sponsored by Stockholm Business Region.

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Last Updated (Friday, 16 May 2014 02:58)


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