Biobank research


Auria Biobank serves both academic research and R&D of medical companies.


Biobank research in 2018


Genetic influence on endometriosis subtypes and gene expression (Endometrioosin genetiikka)

Taija Heinosalo, Matti Poutanen, Turun Yliopisto

Endometrioosi on sairaus, johon sairastumiseen vaikuttaa sekä perimä (50 %) että ympäristö (50 %). Endometrioosin patogeneesi tunnetaan huonosti, eikä endometrioosiin ole täsmälääkettä. Endometrioosipotilaiden DNA:sta on löydetty muutoksia, joita ei havaita terveissä naisissa ja näiden muutosten tutkiminen auttaa ymmärtämään endometrioosin patogeneesiä. DNA-muutosten luotettavaan tutkimiseen tarvitaan näytteitä tuhansista potilaista ja käytännössä tällaiset tutkimukset tehdään monen instituution yhteistyönä, että saavutetaan tarvittava näytemäärä. Tässä tutkimuksessa tutkitaan eri endometrioosityyppejä sairastavien potilaiden geneettisiä eroja ja niiden vaikutusta geenien ilmentymiseen yhteistyönä Prof. Grant Montgomeryn tutkimusryhmän kanssa.


Ovarian cancer-specific CA125 measurement using detection of glycovariants (CA125 munasarjasyövässä)

Taija Heinosalo, Matti Poutanen, Turun Yliopisto

Seerumin CA125 on yleisesti käytetty merkkiaine sekä endometrioositaudin että munasarjasyövän diagnostiikassa ja seurannassa, mikä kertoo merkkiaineen epätarkkuudesta eri tautitilojen välillä. CA125-proteiinin pinnalla olevien sokerirakenteiden (glykosylaation) tiedetään eroavan ainakin munasarjasyovän ja terveiden solujen välillä. Tunnistamalla tiettyjä glykorakenteita niihin sitoutuvien lektiinien avulla (NANOLEC-konsepti) on onnistuttu parantamaan erotteludianostiikkaa endometrioositaudin ja munasarjasyövän välillä. Tutkimuksessa jatketaan endometrioositaudin ja syövän diagnostiikan kehittämistä NANOLEC-konseptin pohjalta


Silmänpohjan ikärappeuman hoitokäytännöt

Bayer Oy

Silmänpohjan ikärappeuma (AMD) on yleisin näkövammaisuuden aiheuttaja kehittyneissä maissa ja potilaista 10-20 % sairastaa taudin kosteaa muotoa (wAMD). Tutkimuksen tavoitteena on selvittää sairauden hoitokäytäntöjä sekä kustannuksia Suomessa. Tutkimus on havainnoiva retrospektiivinen rekisteritutkimus, jonka analysointiin käytetään soveltuvia tilastollisia menetelmiä. Aiempi tutkimustieto aiheesta on vähäistä ja tämä on ensimmäinen Suomessa toteutettava tutkimus aiheesta ja tutkimusta voidaan käyttää mm. terveyden huollon resurssien rationaalista käyttöä suunnitellessa.


Suuontelon syöpien ennusteelliset tekijät ja hoitokäytäntöjen tarkentaminen

Sirpa Jalkanen, Turun Yliopisto

Uusia suuontelon levyepiteelisyöpiä diagnosoidaan maailmassa noin 275 000 vuosittain ja tämä tauti aiheuttaa 1,7 % kaikista syöpäkuolemista. Tässä työssä on tarkoitus tutkia immunopuolustusta alentavien molekyylien esiintymisen ennustearvoa suuontelon kasvainten ennusteeseen. Lisäksi on tarkoitus selvittää biologisia eroja, joita on löydettävissä unkarilaisen ja suomalaisen suusyöpäkasvainaineistojen välillä.


Biobank research in 2017


Biomarkers for DNA repair

Bayer AG, Germany

Chemotherapy as standard of care has been shown to active DNA damage repair (DDR) pathways. Inhibition of these pathways is therefore an interesting, additional concept. Biomarkers can give important molecular information whether the mode of action of a potential new therapeutic has been achieved. Therefore, in this research project, biomarkers which are discussed in the literature as relevant for these pathways are measured for validation. These validated biomarkers can then also be measured in future clinical trials of these novel medications.


Liver metastasis of bladder cancer

Bayer AG, Germany

Metastases and tumour cells can be different on the molecular level within the same patient. Under-standing these differences is important to understand the metastasis process and potentially developing new therapeutics. Aim of this study is to analyse whether the presence of members of one gene family (to which novel therapeutics are currently under development) remains constant between tumour and its metastases. This new knowledge will help to advance innovative treatment options.


Studying pediatric tumor cohorts

Bayer AG, Germany

Children can be afflicted by tumors as well as adults. ‘Typical’ childhood malignancies include deviations from normal hematological development, and glioblastomas, among others. The European Union Paediatric Regulation improves the health of children by facilitating the development and availability of medicines for children from birth to less than 18 years. A paediatric investigation plan is developed to support use of novel medicines in children, using among others molecular information about the prevalence of the target of the therapy in these indications. Analyzing Auria’s historic tumor specimens from routine care of pediatric patients can be very helpful for these activities.


Longitudinal epidemiological study of malignant mesothelioma with and without overexpression of mesothelin

Bayer AG, Germany

Tumour cells can be different to normal healthy cells already at their surface. Certain proteins are present only on tumour cells or to a much higher extent than on surrounding normal healthy cells. Antibodies can be engineered to only recognize such proteins and to carry a toxic payload with them, which then preferentially kills tumour cells. Major aim of this study is to further analyse the presence of one of these proteins on matched tissue and blood samples of cancer patients and correlate this with clinical annotation and further molecular characteristics of these samples such as histology.


Treatment pathways and health care resource use in patients diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland

Novartis Finland Oy

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia occurring in adults. AML affects all age groups but it is primarily a disease of later adulthood with a median age at onset of about 70 years in Europe. AML is characterized by overproliferation of undifferentiated myeloid cells in the bone marrow. Patients can be characterized based on cytogenetic findings, including translocation between chromosomes 15 and 17, translocations between chromosomes 8 and 21 and inversion in chromosome 16, or other genetic mutations such as those of the Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) gene. The cytogenetic profile and presence of mutations are important predictors of prognosis, and aid decisions on treatment. The purpose of this biobank and register study is to describe epidemiology, patient’s characteristics, treatment patterns, health outcome, and health resource usage related to AML management in Southwest Finland.


PTTG1 in breast cancer

Pauliina Kronqvist, TYKS-SAPA Patology

The purpose of the study is to identify new potential diagnostic and prognostic markers for invasive breast carcinomas.


Uudet biomarkkerit lymfoomassa

Annika Ålgars, Sirpa Jalkanen, Turun yliopisto

Tutkimuksen tavoitteena on tutkia syövän immuunipuolustukseen vaikuttavia molekyylejä veressä ja kudostasolla lymfoomaa sairastavilla potilailla. Tutkimuksessa selvitetään veren monosyyttien CLEVER-1 molekyylin määrää ja CLEVER-1 molekyyliä ilmentävien makrofagisolujen määrää kudostasolla ja arvioidaan vaikuttaako CLEVER-1 molekyyli syövän leviämiseen, annettujen hoitojen tehoon tai taudin ennusteeseen.


Multippeli myelooma

Medaffcon Oy ja Amgen AB Finland

Multippeli myelooma on toiseksi yleisin pahanlaatuinen veritauti, jonka osuus kaikista hematologista syövistä on 10-15%. Tauti aiheutuu monoklonaalisen plasmasolukloonin patologisesta lisääntymisestä luuytimessä, johtaen tautispesifin immunoglobuliinifragmentin erittymiseen virtsaan ja/tai vereen, ja edelleen taudille tunnusomaisiin luusto- ja munuaisoireisiin muiden systeemisten oireiden lisäksi. Vaikka myeloomaa pidetään edelleen parantumattomana sairautena, on kantasolusiirtojen ja uusien lääkkeiden käyttöönoton avulla voitu merkittävästi parantaa potilailla esiintyvien oireiden hoitoa sekä elinajanodotetta.

Tutkimuksessa tullaan kartoittamaan Lounais-Suomessa diagnosoitujen, myeloomaa sairastavien potilaiden taudin tila, oireet ja muut erityispiirteet, käytetyt hoidot, hoitovasteet sekä sairauden aiheuttama terveydenhoidollinen resurssikäyttö.


A biobank and health register analysis of burden of disease in severe asthma and COPD patients

Medaffcon Oy ja GSK Finland

Tutkimus tuo uutta tietoa vuosien 2004-2015 aikana sairaalassa hoidetun astmaa tai keuhkoahtaumatautia sairastavan potilaan tilasta, käytetyistä hoidoista, sairauden aiheuttamista kustannuksista ja kuolleisuudesta. Tutkimus selvittää mm vaikeaa astmaa/keuhkoahtaumatautia sairastavien potilaiden määrän, oheissairastavuudet, pahenemisvaiheet sekä arvioi sairauteen liittyvät terveyskustannukset.


Rintasyövän uudet biomarkkerit

Jukka Westermarck, Turun yliopisto

Projektissa tutkitaan aiemmin soluviljelmissä karakterisoituja potentiaalisia uusia rintasyövän hoitovasteen biomarkkereita potilasnäytteistä. Merkkiaineet voivat auttaa potilaiden hoidonvalinnassa.


Sinonasaalialueen invertti papillooma ja karsinooma

Maija Salminen, Satakunnan keskussairaala
Heikki Irjala, TYKS

lnvertti papillooma on nenän limakalvon kasvain, joka hyvänlaatuisuudesta huolimatta voi olla paikallisesti aggressiivisesti kasvava tauti, jolla on taipumus uusiutua ja potentiaali muuttua pahanlaatuiseksi. Taudin syntymekanismien taustalla olevat tekijät ovat yhä epäselviä ja toistaiseksi ei ole mitään ennusteellista tekijää, joka ennustaisi taudin käyttäytymistä. Tutkimuksessa tullaan selvittämään uusia, jatkossa toivottavasti kliiniseen rutiinikäyttöön soveltuvia tekijöitä, jotka voisivat ennustaa taudin käyttäytymistä. Nämä olisivat tarpeen potilaan yksilöllisten hoitovaihtoehtojen valinnassa ja seurannan järjestämisessä.


Farmakogeneettisen paneelitutkimuksen implementaatio kliiniseen käyttöön Suomessa

Juho Heliste, TY Biolääketieteen laitos

Geneettisen vaihtelun merkitys lääkehoitojen tehoon ja turvallisuuteen on nykyään laajasti tunnettu. Osa lääkkeistä aiheuttaa merkittäviä haittavaikutuksia tiettyjen geenimuotojen kantajille ja toisaalta osa lääkkeistä on tehottomia tietyillä genotyypeillä. Tämä vaihtelu huomioimalla lääkehoitoa voidaan kohdentaa yksilöllisesti. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena on tutkia farmakogeneettisesti tärkeimpien geenien variaatioita suomalaisessa väestössä sekä niiden merkitystä lääkehoitoihin.


Rintasyöpäseulonnan elämänaikaiset hyödyt ja haitat

Milla Lehtinen, Ahti Anttila, Suomen Syöpärekisteri

Tutkimuksen tavoitteena on selvittää rintasyöpäseulonnan hyötyjä, haittoja ja kustannusvaikuttavuutta. Seulonnan ensisijainen hyöty on rintasyöpäkuolleisuuden vähentäminen. Haittoja ovat muun muassa vaarat positiiviset ja negatiiviset seulontatulokset, ylidiagnostiikka sekä psykososiaaliset vaikutukset. Kustannusvaikuttavuuslaskelmia varten halutaan selvittää myös seulontaohjelman ulkopuolisten mammografioiden laajuus. Pyrkimyksenä on tuottaa tietoa siitä, kuinka seulontoja tulisi toteuttaa mahdollisimman tehokkaasti. Aineistoon kerätään tietoja seulonnoista ja niiden ulkopuolisista rintaan kohdistuvista radiologisista tutkimuksista sekä rintasyöpätapauksista ja rintasyövän hoidoista vuosilta 1953-2015.


Tumor antigens under chemotherapy treatment

Bayer AG, Germany

Tumor cells can be different to normal healthy cells already at their surface. Certain proteins are present only on tumor cells or to a much higher extent than on surrounding normal healthy cells. Antibodies can be engineered to only recognize such proteins and to carry a toxic payload with them which then preferentially kills tumor cells. Aim of this study is to analyze whether the presence of one of these proteins remains constant during tumor development or whether this is affected by current treatments such as chemotherapy. This new knowledge will help to advance innovative treatment options.


Diabetes ja luusto – verinäytteen luuproteiini avaa uusia näkökulmia diabetesdiagnostiikkaan

Kaisa Ivaska, TY Biolääketieteen laitos

Metabolinen oireyhtymä ja tyypin 2 diabetes lisääntyvät väestön ikääntyessä ja elintapojen muuttuessa. Diabeteksen hoitokäytäntöjä parantavilla työkaluilla voidaan saavuttaa merkittäviä kansanterveydellisiä ja – taloudellisia vaikutuksia ja ne tuovat helpotusta myös potilaan arkeen. Luusta verenkiertoon erittyvän tekijän on havaittu säätelevän verensokeria kontrolloivan haiman toimintaa. Projektin tavoitteena on testata uutta menetelmää tämän tekijän mittaamiseen verinäytteestä ja selvittää mittausmenetelmän mahdollisuudet diabeteksen ennakoinnissa, seurannassa ja hoitovasteen tarkkailussa.


Biomarkers related to radiotherapy treatment outcome in head and neck cancer

Bayer AG, Germany

Among the treatment options for head and neck cancer is radiotherapy, being, however, not of equal benefit to all patients. We will investigate if the treatment response is correlated to the expression of certain protein biomarkers in samples of head and neck tumors. This is greatly facilitated by the well annotated samples of Auria biobank including information on radiotherapy, further therapies, co-morbidities, and outcome such as progression or survival. These data will support efforts to identify characteristics of cases with unmet medical need and to design treatment options and trials for these patients.


Kroonista tulehduksellista suolistosairautta sairastavien potilaiden sytokeratiinitutkimus

Markku Voutilainen, Turku University Hospital

Cytokeratins are supporting proteins of intestinal epithelial cells. Changes of these proteins are considered to play a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of the study is to further understand inflammatory bowel disease by investigating structural changes of cytokeratins and to clarify the relation of these changes to the course of the disease.

Biobank research in 2016


Formiinit kolmoisnegatiivisessa rintasyövässä

Maria Gardberg, TYKS-SAPA Patologia

Rintasyöpä on Suomessa naisten tavallisin pahanlaatuinen kasvain. Taudinmäärityksen yhteydessä rintasyöpänäytteestä selvitetään rintasyövän tarkempi tyyppi, jonka perusteella voidaan arvioida taudin ennustetta ja suunnitella tehokas hoito. Suurin osa rintasyövän sairastaneista paranee pysyvästi leikkauksen ja mahdollisten liitännäishoitojen ansiosta. Hoidon kannalta haasteellinen alatyyppi on rintasyöpä, jossa ei ilmenny hormonihoidon ja täsmähoidon kohdemolekyylejä (kolmoisnegatiivinen rintasyöpä). Projektissa tutkitaan ilmentävätkö kolmoisnegatiiviset rintasyövät solun tukirankaa muokkaavia formiiniproteiineja. Tulosten perusteella selvitetään myös formiinien ilmentymisen vaikutus taudin ennusteeseen. Solukokeissa on osoitettu, että formiinien toimintaa voidaan lääkkeellisesti estää. Formiinit saattavat tulevaisuudessa toimia lääkehoidon kohteena.


Clever-1 esiintyminen eri syöpätyypeissä

Sirpa Jalkanen, Turun Yliopisto

Tulehdussolujen määrä sekä yksittäisten tulehdussolujen ominaisuudet näyttäisivät olevan merkityksellisiä syövän käyttäytymiselle. Clever-1 on proteiini, jota mm. immunosuppressiiviset makrofaagit ilmentävät. Clever-1 itsessään näyttäisi myös olevan immunosuppressiivinen molekyyli ja siten mahdollisesti sopiva syöpähoidon kohde. Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena on selvittää Clever-1 molekyylin esiintymistä eri syöpätyypeissä päämääränä sopivan syöpätyypin valinta kliinisiin kokeisiin.


Biomarkers in Typical and Atypical Pulmonary Carcinoids

Johanna Arola, Helsinki Biobank
Tiina Vesterinen, Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM)

Pulmonary carsinoid tumors cover 1-2% of all pulmonary malignancies. Accurate and timely diagnosis is required for successful treatment and improved prognosis. The aim of the study is to discover new or validate already existing diagnostic, predictive and/or prognostic markers for pulmonary carcinoids using retrospective material collected over decades in Finland.


Description of patient population of Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and their special characteristics in Hospital District of South-West Finland in years 2004-2013

Medaffcon Oy and Abbvie

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common leukemia in the Western world. The prognosis of the disease has become better irrespective of the disease stage, because of the resent developments of the treatment options. By creating a baseline description of the current CLL patient population and their common characteristics, this study helps to understand the basis of the disease as it is now, and estimate the treatment outcomes and also evaluate future treatment regimens compared to the current status. In addition, the study aim is to help defining the future resources needed to adequately treat each patient.


Late mortality and cardiovascular morbidity after cancer at a young age in Finland

Päivi Lähteenmäki, Turku University Hospital

It has been suggested that survivors of pediatric cancer are significantly more likely than their siblings to suffer from cardiac complications. Aim of the study is to reveal genes that expose patients, who have received cancer treatment, to cardiac complications by focusing on long-term treatment-related effects. Information can be used for patients’ follow-up and also possibly for preventing adverse outcomes and for detecting cardiac risk factors in the early stages.


Prevalence and significance of ERBB4-mutations in non-small cell lung carcinoma

Klaus Elenius and Anna Knittle, University of Turku, Medical biochemistry and genetics

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. The study aims to investigate ERBB4-mutations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and evaluate the their clinical significance. This information can be utilized when improving medication and treatment of NSCLC.


Effects of estetrol (E4) on human breast and breast cancer tissue in ex vivo culture model

Pirkko Härkönen, University of Turku, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy

Estetrol (E4) is a natural estrogen produced by the human fetal liver during pregnancy and it is suggested as a promising new compound for menopausal hormone therapy and contraception. The study aims to study effects of estetrol (E4) in comparison to estradiol (E2) in an ex vivo model using explant cultures of normal breast and breast cancer samples.


Metastatic or locally advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

Bayer Oy

The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, the etiology of the disease, medical practices, health care resource use, treatment costs and prognosis of the disease will be studied in a 13-year period in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland area. This information can be utilized when developing new treatment practices.


Comprehensive primary lung tumour analysis to evaluate histotype-specific immune microenvironment

Emmy Verschuren, Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM)

The purpose of the study is to investigate the histotype-specific immune microenvironment of lung cancer. To this end, we will immunostain squamous cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and papillary adenocarcinoma to detect positively impacting neutrophils and negatively impacting T-cells. This work may lead to development of new histotype-specific therapies.


Tumor markers for early diagnostics

Kim Pettersson and Henna Kekki, Biotechnology, University of Turku

Tumor markers can be used to measure treatment efficacy and, in some cases, to monitor possible recurrence of the disease. Most of the tumor markers include sugar structures which change when cancer progresses, and these can be detected already at an early stage of the disease. The purpose of the study is to improve the specificity of the existing tumor markers and also to improve early diagnostics of cancer. We have developed diagnostic assays which recognize the sugar structures typical for cancer. The new sensitive assays would assist in the evaluation of patients' treatment response and likely enable detection of disease recurrency earlier than at present.


The incidence and treatment of biological subtypes of breast cancer

Roche Oy

The purpose of this study is to determine the incidence and prevalence of biological subtypes of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis. Medical treatment practices are analyzed with regard to HER2-positive breast cancer cases. New HER2 immunotherapy drugs have improved the prognosis of patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer significantly. In spite of this, there are great challenges associated with these subtypes of breast cancer due to their aggressiveness. The study aims to investigate the introduction of targeted drugs, and their impact on the incidence of metastatic cases in Finland.


Cytoskeletal proteins and signaling pathways in the spread of malignant glioma

Maria Gardberg, Turku University Hospital, Pathology

Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor. Glioblastoma cells are often found far away from the actual tumor. These tumor cells that exist outside of the tumor are problematic in terms of treatment, as they will cause relapse after treatment. Our research team studies processes by which glioblastoma cells invade surrounding tissue. We investigate cytoskeletal proteins that enhance cell movement, and search for ways to prevent their operation. In the long term, we aim to find targets proteins for targeted drug therapy.


Characteristics of eosinophilic asthma patients and their health care utilization in Finland during 2004-2013

Medaffcon Oy and AstraZeneca

Asthma is a heterogeneous disease, usually characterized by chronic airway inflammation. In patients with severe asthma, some phenotype-guided treatments are already available however, further information is still needed on biochemical and biological markers that can be used both in diagnostics and in follow-up and which are predictive for the prognosis of different phenotypes and endotypes in asthma. The aim of the study is to investigate the prevalence of eosinophilic asthma among asthma patients in Finland and to describe patient characteristics of patients with eosinophilic asthma.


Immuno-oncology in solid tumors

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany

Tumor samples of malignant melanomas, non-small cell lung cancer or other solid tumor indications will be analyzed for their mutations, gene expression, immunohistochemical markers etc. with a focus on immune-oncology. Furthermore, plasma samples shall be characterized for mutations in circulating tumor DNA/RNA in comparison to normal cell DNA in blood as well as for the levels of soluble proteins. This analysis will be correlated to clinical data and could help to advance the field of immune-oncology by e.g. identifying new targets, or biomarkers to predict progress.


Registry-based evaluation of patients with adenocarcinoma tumors associated with early progression on first-line chemotherapy

Boehringer Ingelheim

The study aims at collecting real world data on patients with adenocarcinoma of NSCLC. The target is to search for clinical biomarkers that would support treatment selection. With the newly approved targeted therapies such as immunotherapies it will be important to have tools for selection of patients that would benefit of the treatment.


Clinical trial feasibility

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany

Molecular research conducted on samples of a biobank could and should lead to clinical trials of novel therapeutics under development. To organize such clinical trials efficiently, it is relevant to know how many patients could be enrolled in a given site and how this number is affected by changes in the clinical trial protocol’s inclusion and exclusion criteria. In this study, a series of clinical trials across several indications are simulated in the database of Auria biobank to study these effects and thus to optimize the future clinical trial protocol.


Vasopressin hormones in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failureClinical trial feasibility

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany

Vasopressin hormones are a family of peptides released from the hypothalamus derived from a common pre pro form. We aim to identify longitudinal reference levels in a large cohort of CKD patients to correlate with disease stage. Also, such data from heart failure patients will be assessed. We plan to evaluate e. g. effects of circadian rhythm, comorbidities and respective treatments, demographics and life style on hormone levels. A definition of cut-off levels could help to identify patients at risk for worsening conditions (such as loss of kidney function in CKD) or to predict progression or outcome of treatment.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and breast cancer in Finland

Elina Uusitalo and Juha Peltonen, Department of Biomedicine, University of Turku

The incidence of breast cancer is higher in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) than in the general Finnish population. The prognosis of breast cancer in NF1 patients is also worse. The aim of the study is to investigate how NF1 breast cancers differ from breast cancers in patients who do not have NF1.


MS-taudin biomarkkerit

Laura Airas, TYKS

Multippeliskleroosi (MS-tauti) on krooninen keskushermoston sairaus. Taudin etenemismekanismien parempi ymmärtäminen voisi johtaa uusien lääkekohteiden löytymiseen sekä taudin etenemistä mittaavien biomarkkerien tunnistamiseen. Projektin tavoitteena on kerätä MS-potilailta edustava valikoima verinäytteitä ja likvornäytteitä tarkoituksena käyttää näitä näytteitä MS-taudin biomarkkeritutkimukseen.


Selvitys rakkosyövän epidemiologiasta sekä paikallisesti edenneen ja/tai metastasoituneen rakkosyövän hoitokäytännöistä ja hoitotuloksista VSSHP:ssä v 2004-2013

Roche Oy

Projektissa selvitetään rakkosyövän epidemiologiaa Auria biopankin aineistossa tutkimalla diagnoosihetkellä paikallisen taudin, paikallisesti edenneen taudin ja metastasoituneen taudin osuuksia. Lisäksi selvitetään, kuinka suuressa osassa ei-lihakseen levinneistä tautitapauksista tauti etenee lihakseen ja /tai metastasoituu. Lisäksi selvitetään paikallisesti edenneen ja/tai metastasoituneen rakkosyövän nykyhoitokäytäntöjä sekä hoidon tuloksia potilaiden elossa oloaikana mitattuna. Elossa olotuloksia ei toistaiseksi ole raportoitu Suomessa. Projektissa selvitetään myös rakkosyöpää sairastavien potilaiden terveydenhuollon resurssien käyttöä sairaalahoitopäivinä erikoissairaanhoidossa


Understanding the biology of esophageal cancer

Genentech

The objective of this study is to better understand Esophageal Cancer (EC). Esophageal Cancer has a high unmet need with an increasing incidence of 400,000 deaths per year worldwide. This study aims to understand the basic biology and mechanism involved in this disease indication with a retrospective analysis of archival tissue samples collected by Auria Biobank. Specifically to study the genes expressed by RNA sequencing and assess identification of key proteins by immunohistochemistry.


Her2 expression in metastatic breast cancer

Bayer AG, Germany

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Besides anti-hormonal treatment, antibodies directed against the growth hormone receptor Her2 are a valid treatment for many cases. Not much is known about mechanisms of resistance to HER2 targeted therapies. Knowledge about these mechanisms will allow developing new therapies for breast cancer patients relapsing on standard therapy. Investigating this question is made possible by Auria’s surgical archive of well annotated tumor samples.


Selvitys ruoansulatuskanavan ja keuhkojen neuroendokriinisten kasvainten hoitokäytännöistä, hoitojen vaikuttavuudesta ja terveydenhuollon resurssien käytöstä VSSHP:n aluella

Novartis Finland Oy

Neuroendokriiniset kasvaimet ovat heterogeeninen ryhmä kasvaimia, jotka ovat lähtöisin kehon hormonia erittävistä soluista. Kaikista neuroendokriinisistä kasvaimista yli puolet kehittyy ruoansulatuskanavan alueelle ja noin neljäsosa keuhkoihin. Neuroendokriiniset kasvaimet ovat harvinaisia, mutta niiden ilmaantuvuus on lisääntynyt merkittävästi viimeisten vuosikymmenten aikana.

Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena on selvittää ohutsuolen ja keuhkon neuroendokriinisistä kasvaimista kärsivien potilaiden hoitokäytäntöjä, käytettyjä lääkehoitoja ja hoidon vaikuttavuutta. Lisäksi on tarkoitus arvioida liitännäissairauksien ilmaantuvuutta ja terveydenhuollon resurssien käyttöä.


Biobank research in 2015


New prognostic methods of predicting treatment response in head and neck cancers

Jukka Westermarck, Centre for Biotechnology, UTU

In the TYKS operating district, an average of roughly 100 new cases of head and neck cancers are diagnosed every year. Despite advances in treatment, the survival rate among patients with epithelium carcinoma of the head and neck area is only approximately 50%. The study aims to identify novel prognostic and predictive expression profiles for head and neck cancers for clinical application. If the study reveals that the predictive value of novel biomarkers is better than the ones used previously, the results can be applied in the selection of individual modes of treatment.


VULSAMET – From lichen sclerosus to metastasising vulvar cancer – novel cancer tracers markers

Sakari Hietanen and Marjut Rintala, TYKS/Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Niina Hieta, TYKS/Department of Dermatology

The study aims to determine, using biomarkers, factors influencing the occurrence and invasion of vulvar cancer, in particular the factors influencing metastasis to the lymph nodes. The research aims to understand the factors affecting the cancer’s development and progression. Thus, in future, novel cancer risk factors can be found, and new, targeted medicine can be developed for cancer treatment. The research results could also influence the treatment recommendations for genital rashes as far as the risk of cancer is concerned.


DOTANOC-PET/TT imaging of somatostatin receptors in lymphomas and full body magnetic imaging in the monitoring of early treatment responses

Sirkku Jyrkkiö, Tiina Ruuska and Heikki Minn, Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, TYKS

The study is part of a broader programme that aims to determine the presence of somatostatin receptors in lymphomas. The study charts the expression of somatostatin receptors in several lymphoma sub-types, as well as the predictive value of receptors by correlating the expression of the receptors in samples with the patients’ survival data. The results of the study are important in differentiating lymphomas from neuroendocrine tumours. At the same time, it can be determined whether isotope therapy aimed at somatostatin receptors can be applied to the treatment of lymphoma.


The role of calcium channels and medications that regulate themhypertension medication in cancer

Johanna Ivaska, Centre for Biotechnology, UTU

A link between the expression of myosin-X protein and the spread of cancer has been proved, with a correlation between high myosin-X levels and poor outcome in breast cancer patients. In addition, the protein regulates the metastasis and invasion of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer cells. Calcium channel blockers used as blood pressure medication inhibit the activity of myosin-X protein and the invasion of cancer cells in vitro. The role of calcium channels in cancer has not been studied before, and medications that block them are generally used to treat high blood pressure. The research explores the effects of calcium channel blockers in the progression and outcome of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. The expression of calcium channels and myosin-X protein in breast and pancreatic cancer samples is also studied.


Biomarkers that predict tumour behaviour in stage II colorectal cancer

Jari Sundström, TYKS-SAPA, Pathology

Patients with stage II colorectal cancer are a problematic patient group for oncologists to treat, as not enough data exists on which patients benefit from adjuvant and beta blocker therapy. The study aims to find promising novel biomarkers for predicting a high recurrence risk in stage II colorectal cancer patients.


Cell division regulation as a predictor of breast cancer

Pauliina Kronqvist, TYKS-SAPA, Pathology

The project is a continuation of the research on the prognosis of breast cancer that aims to evaluate the significance of the regulating factors in the division of breast cancer cells in terms of the recurrence of the disease and patients’ survival. The data covers all breast cancer types, including so-called triple-negative breast cancer cases, which currently present the biggest challenge in breast cancer treatment. The study focuses on cell-division-regulating biomarkers that predict the progression of the disease, and on their correlation with known predictors of breast cancer and patient survival. The study aims to further the knowledge of breast cancer biology and improve the methods used for assessing prognoses.


Intestinal cancer treatment outcomes in Auria Biobank’s database from 2003–2012

Eetu Heervä and Heikki Minn, Oncology Outpatient Clinic, TYKS

Cancer of the intestines is the third most common cancer, after breast and prostate cancer. In Finland, treatment outcomes for intestinal cancer have improved over the years. The purpose of the study is to determine the treatment outcome of intestinal cancer, measured in terms of the patients’ lifetime in Auria Biobank’s database from 2003 until 2012. The study aims to find factors correlated with an improvement in treatment outcomes over the years.


Factors predicting overall survival, disease transformation and complications, and healthcare utilization in patients with high- and low-risk polycythemia vera in the area of Hospital District of Southwest Finland

Novartis Finland Oy

Polycythemia vera (PV) is a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). PV is a part of the MPN group of blood disorders, and it can transform in a time-dependent phenomenon to myelofibrosis (MF) or to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Patients can be divided in to low- (age <60 years and no history of thrombosis) and high-risk patients. The main purpose of this study is to assess the incidence and prevalence of PV in Finland and to find out overall survival and any potential prognostic risk factors in high- and low risk patients.


Hypoxia in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)

Tove Grönroos, PET Center, UTU

It is known that hypoxic HNSCC tumors are more resistant to radiotherapy than non-hypoxic ones. Majority of HNSCCs are positive for human papilloma virus (HPV), and patients with HPV positive tumors respond well to radiotherapy in comparison with HPV negative patients. The biological basis for this observation is not fully understood. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is part of the adaptive immune system. In recent studies a link between TLR9, hypoxia and HPV expression status in cancer has been observed. The aim of the study is to analyze the expression of TLR9 and HPV in HNSCC patients’ tumors, in which the level of hypoxia as well as the response to radiotherapy is known.


High-grade serous ovarian cancer

Olli Carpen, Department of Biomedicine, University of Turku

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of female cancer deaths in Europe. More than half of the patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGS-OvCa), the most common ovarian cancer subtype, die within five years after diagnosis. The survival odds for a patient with HGS-OvCa have not markedly improved in the last 20 years, and thus novel, innovative solutions to better understand and treat HGS-OvCa are desperately needed. The purpose of the study is, by using genomic information, to develop tools to identify those HGS-OvCa patients who do not respond to standard treatments. The aim is to identify unique molecular profiles, which could be used to predict the treatment response of individual patients.


Expression and prognostic association of glycan biomarkers in prostate cancer

Glykos Finland Oy

Prostate cancer is the most common newly diagnosed cancer in men. Widespread use of PSA screens has led to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of indolent forms of prostate cancer. The purpose of the study is to generate glycan fingerprints from prostate adenocarcinomas and benign prostatic lesions, and validate a method for clinical diagnosis of prostate cancer from tumor biopsies.


Identification and characterization of novel biomarkers in skin cancer

Veli-Matti Kähäri, University of Turku, Department of Dermatology

Keratinocyte-derived cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the most common metastatic skin cancer. Exposure to UV-radiation from sun is the most important risk factor for cSCC. Although most cSCCs are curable with surgical excision, recurrent and metastatic tumors are difficult to treat. The incidence of premalignant actinic keratosis is also steadily increasing in developed countries, and there is an urgent need to find specific biomarkers for identifying high-risk premalignant skin lesions. The aim of this study is to find and validate new biomarkers for evaluating the risk of progression and metastasis of cSCC. It is expected that the results obtained will improve diagnosis, classification and prognostication of cSCCs and its precursors.


Gadolinium deposition in gliomas after contrast-enhanced MT imaging

Heikki Minn and Aida Kiviniemi, Oncology Clinic, Turku University Hospital

The safety profile of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) routinely used in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has generally been regarded as high. Recent studies have shown that gadolinium may accumulate as long term deposits to specific normal brain structures after repeated contrast-enhanced MRI scans. The clinical significance of this observation, however, is unclear. The use of GBCA is essential especially among patients with gliomas in which contrast-enhancement is a hallmark of ruptured blood-brain barrier (BBB). Given the fact that patients with gliomas are often subjected to several contrast-enhanced MRI scans during their follow-up, the aim of the study is to examine the deposits of gadolinium into the brain tumor with a highly sensitive inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In addition, the relation of gadolinium deposits in gliomas to the number of previous GBCA doses administered, and to the signal intensity of the tumor on unenhanced T1-weighted MR images will be assessed.


Novel molecular markers of ovarian granulosa cell tumors

Markku Heikinheimo and Anniina Färkkilä, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Helsinki and HUCH

Adult granulosa cell tumor (AGCT) is a unique subtype of ovarian cancer. AGCTs are hormonally active and hormonal manipulation has been considered as adjuvant therapy, however the mechanisms of action and effectiveness remain debatable. The effect of hormones on tumor growth and prognosis will be explored. The aim is to find novel biomarkers for AGCT and to study the mechanism and effectiveness of hormonal therapies in treatment of recurrent disease.


Significance of VAP-1 molecule in pulmonary fibrosis

Marko Salmi, Medical microbiology and immunology, University of Turku

In certain diseases, there is accumulation of connective tissue in the lungs which inhibits respiration. The reason for the accumulation is unknown and there are no efficient treatments available for the disease. The research group has observed in an animal model that inhibition of VAP-1 molecule decreases the amount of accumulated connective tissue in the lungs. The aim of the study is to investigate if VAP-1 is expressed in pulmonary fibrosis in man, and to explore whether VAP-1 inhibitors could possibly be used to treat this disease.


Study on the epidemiological expression of melanoma, efficacy of treatment and use of health care resources in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland

Novartis Finland Oy

Metastatic melanoma is fast spreading disease with poor prognosis. Novel therapies have improved the progression free survival, overall survival and quality of life of the patients with advanced disease. Selection of patients to these different therapies is at the moment based on clinical selection criteria. It is important to characterize the patients that are eligible for different treatment options as well as investigate the outcomes of treated patients in order to form better informed decisions for the treatments.


Prognostic genetic markers for radiation- and EGFR-treatment response in head and neck cancer

Klaus Elenius, Medical biochemistry and genetics, University of Turku

The treatment options for head and neck cancer are surgical operation, radiotherapy and/or medical treatment. Radiotherapy and medical treatment are, however, not equally effective for all patients. The purpose of this study is to investigate if the treatment response can be predicted by presence of certain mutations in head and neck tumors.


Molecular determinants in metastatic colorectal cancer with exceptionally good and poor prognosis

Annika Ålgars and Heikki Minn, Cancer clinic, Turku University Hospital

The prognosis of colorectal cancer depends on several factors, including how widely the tumor has spread when diagnosed. The patients’ disease varies. Part of the patients have very aggressive disease with short overall survival independent of the treatments. On the other hand, part of the patients have stable disease and long survival. The aim of the study is to identify genetic mutations from the tumors of both groups of patients, which could be used in identification of patients with disease characteristics specific to either group. Use of that information in treatment decisions would enable more personalized care for each patient.


Vulval malignancies in lichen sclerosus

Niina Hieta, Dermatology clinic, Turku University Hospital

Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory skin disease presenting mainly on the anogenital area. In contrast to other chronic rash, there is an increased 2-5% risk that lichen sclerosus develops to carcinoma. The most common malignancy developed from lichen sclerosus is squamous cell carcinoma, and there are only anecdotal reports on other malignancies. The purpose of the study is to investigate other malignancies than squamous cell carcinoma in anogenital area of female lichen sclerosus patients.


Prognostic biomarkers in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC)

Eva-Maria Talvitie, Department of pathology, Turku University Hospital

Until recently, the most important factor determining clinical management and prognosis of NSCLC patients has been TNM staging system, but new prognostic and predictive factors are now being recognized, especially for adenocarcinoma. In addition, there is a growing need for new prognostic and predictive biomarkers to help to stratify patients for different treatment options and to develop new targeted therapies. The aim of the study is to find and validate potential prognostic and predictive biomarkers for NSCLC.


Study on the epidemiological expression, treatment practices, comorbidities and prognosis of rare immunologic hematological diseases in the Southwest Finland Hospital District

Novartis Finland Oy

Chronic immunologic thrombocytopenic purple (ITP) and aplastic anemia (AA) are rare hematological diseases, whose mechanism of origin are not fully understood. The study aims to clarify the prevalence, prognosis and complications, as well as the treatment practices of ITP and AA.


Treatment patterns and outcomes for patients with metastatic breast cancer: a retrospective chart review and biobank analysis

Pfizer Oy

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Finland, and the incidence is estimated to rise. However, current real-world data on patient characteristics, treatment patterns, and health care resource utilization for patients with breast cancer in Finland is limited. The goal of the present study is to gain a current understanding of real-world treatment patterns and resource use associated with metastatic breast cancer in Finland. We presently lack unique country-specific data describing drivers of treatment selection and how these factors may impact the patient and the health care system.


Study on treatment results of breast cancer in Hospital District of Southwest Finland

Riikka Huovinen and Antti Ellonen, Cancer clinic, Turku University Hospital

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Over 90% of patients are alive 5 years after the diagnosis, indicating that the treatment efficacy is in general good. Prognosis of metastatic disease is not as good. The efficacy of current treatments has been evaluated in various controlled clinical studies. In practice, the treatment is affected e.g. by the treatment decisions of clinicians and the structure of healthcare system. The purpose of the study is to investigate the treatment results of breast cancer in Hospital District of Southwest Finland as measured by the overall survival


Study to identify new drug target

Astellas Pharma Inc., LifeDataWorks Oy

The study aims to identify new drug target based on analysis on genetic and health record information of the patients banked in Auria Biobank.


Development of a diagnostic method to identify patients with high risk of Thiopurine induced severe adverse events

Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM) and The Broad Institute Samuli Ripatti, Jukka Koskela, Mark Daly

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Tiopurines are immunosuppressive medications widely-used for the maintenance and achievement of disease remission. While proven to be effective, their use is challenged by high rates of severe adverse effects. The aim of the study is to identify the genetic determinants of thiopurine related adverse effects.

Biobank research in 2014


The expression and predictive value of biomarkers in gastric cancer

Olli Carpén, Institute of Biomedicine, UTU

Gastric cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The research, encompassing 300 different gastric cancer samples, analyses the clinical characteristics of molecular sub-types of gastric cancer using immunohistochemical methods. An additional aim of the research is to identify novel prognostic biomarkers and drug targets for gastric cancer. Better biomarkers help to identify the special characteristics of gastric cancer and the most suitable treatment for each patient. New drug targets help in designing future treatment trials.


Study on the epidemiologyical expression and treatment of acromegaly in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland following operative treatment

Novartis Finland Oy

Acromegaly is a rare disorder in which a tumour in the pituitary gland leads to excess production of growth hormone. The study aims to determine the number of acromegaly patients who achieve inadequate biochemical control following the removal of the pituitary gland tumour, and the number of patients who require somatostatin analog therapy to achieve the desired response. The study additionally aims to determine the status of other disorders caused by acromegaly in patients who have not achieved biochemical control compared to patients who have achieved control. The study sheds new light on targeted therapy for acromegaly patients.


Genetic predisposition to breast cancer in high-risk breast cancer families

Minna Kankuri-Tammilehto, Clinical Genetics, TYKS
Johanna Schleutker, Medical Genetics, UTU

One in every nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. According to estimates, 5–10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary, i.e. due to being a carrier of a genetic mutation that predisposes the patient to a high risk of cancer, in which case the breast cancer risk during the patient’s lifetime is more than 40%. The study maps the local breast cancer gene mutations in the TYKS expert responsibility area (ERA). Mutations in the BRCA1/2 gene were the cause of only approx. 25% of cases of hereditary breast cancer. The aim of the study is to identify previously unknown genes predisposing high-risk patients to breast cancer. The study furthermore aims to gain new information about the combined effect of various risk genes and about how various predisposing genes are associated with the age of occurrence. The results of the research are used in diagnosing breast cancer, in determining the prognosis and in assessing the cancer risk.


A study of beta cell PET tracers in tissue samples

Pirjo Nuutila, PET Centre, UTU

Diabetes results when beta cells, which produce insulin in the pancreas, are destroyed. Roughly 180 million people worldwide are estimated to have diabetes. Pancreatic studies are complicated by the location of the pancreas deep in the abdomen and the small number of beta cells. By the time the disease is diagnosed, most of the insulin-producing beta cells have already been destroyed. The study aims to develop novel tracers for the PET (positron emission tomography) imaging of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Such tracers could potentially allow the progression of diabetes to be monitored more closely and improve the possibilities of tracking the effectiveness of diabetes medications.


The expression of somatostatin receptors in gliomas and correlation to prognostic markers

Heikki Minn and Aida Kiviniemi, Oncology Clinic, TYKS

Gliomas are the most common type of brain tumour and are classified according to their histological degree of malignancy into either low-grade or high-grade gliomas, i.e. malignant gliomas. In recent years, several molecular-pathological tracers have been introduced, allowing gliomas to be divided more accurately into sub-types for treatment and monitoring. Many tumours express somatostatin receptors, which are used as a target for therapy, especially in the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours. There are indications that the expression of somatostatin receptors in gliomas can serve as both a diagnostic and prognostic marker. The study aims to determine the expression of somatostatin receptors in gliomas and its correlation to the patient’s survival predictors and molecular markers. According to the research hypothesis, the expression of somatostatin receptors in gliomas is a potential new prognostic biomarker that clarifies diagnostic classification and aids in selecting a suitable treatment.


Study on the epidemiologyical expression of myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia and the overall survival of myelofibrosis patients at the time of diagnosis in the Southwest Finland Hospital District

Novartis Finland Oy

Myelofibrosis is a slowly progressing disease with a poor prognosis. Only in recent years has progress been made in improving patients’ overall survival through medical treatment. In some patients, myelofibrosis transforms into leukaemia, and the study aims to determine the number of myelofibrosis patients who develop acute leukaemia and the significance of the JAK2V617F gene mutation in its development. The research brings new information to light about the epidemiology of myelofibrosis and factors affecting its prognosis.

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