Peter Nygren – New and individualised cancer treatment
The main objective of our research is to improve the efficacy of cancer treatment by providing information allowing for optimal drug selection for the individual patient. We also want to identify and develop potentially new and more active cancer drugs.
Since the start of modern chemotherapy for cancer in the 1940s a number of drugs have become available. However, the doctor’s choice of medical treatment generally does not take into account the considerable variation that is known to exist between individual patients in terms of efficacy, tolerance and
pharmacokinetics. This means that many patients receive a
suboptimal treatment that often only results in side effects.
In recent years new drugs have been developed but the experience so far is that only a small fraction of treated patients might experience good effect of these drugs. At the group level, the benefit is mostly modest.
Our research has two main objectives. One is to is to provide predictive information that allows for optimal drug selection for an individual patient, and, as important, to exclude drugs that will not be active but only produce toxicity.
The second objective, and immediately related to the first, since it is based on the same technical platform as in objective one, is to identify new lead compounds with potentially improved efficacy against tumour types. Candidate drugs are identified and mechanistically characterized in cancer models in the laboratory, followed by testing in animal models with the aim to finally move them to clinical trials in cancer patients.
Since this second objective is based on the principle of drug repositioning, i.e. the application of drugs already in use for other indications for treatment of cancer, it lies within reach for academic research groups with limited funding to take findings all the way from the laboratory to early clinical testing.