The Research Project we support

Aim

The scientists try to establish a method to detect stomach cancer at an early stage, using a blood test. They also aim to understand the details of stomach cancer development. This information may contribute to improved treatments or preventive measures for the disease.

Patient samples – a gold mine for scientists

A key role in the research is played by the patient samples we analyse. We have access to two different patient material collections, which are invaluable to us since we would not be able to perform any analyses without these samples. The collections contain blood and stomach tissue samples from persons in different disease categories – individuals with stomach cancer, and individuals with or without infection with Helicobacter pylori. The first collection was established in Gothenburg, Sweden around 2008. The material was of high quality, but since stomach cancer is relatively uncommon in Sweden we could not obtain samples from a high enough number of patients with H. pylori infection and with precursors to stomach cancer.

Contributing scientists

Research usually involves collaboration between many different people, and these collaborations evolve and are reshaped over time. This can be due to the fact that students perform short or long-term sub-projects that are part of the research, or that the diversity of collaboration partners changes over time due to different competence needs over the time-course of the project.

Key people who have been active and/or are active currently in the project are:

Dr Lawrence Paszat, Toronto, Canada.
Responsible for collection of patient samples in Nicaragua.

Dr Reyna Palacios, Managua, Nicaragua.
Co-responsible for the collection of patient samples in Nicaragua.

Prof. David Y Graham, Houston, USA.
Responsible for culturing of Helicobacter pylori from the patient samples.

Prof. Massimo Rugge, Padova, Italy.
Responsible for microscopy analysis of stomach samples.

Dr Matteo Fassan, Padova, Italy.
Co-responsible for microscopy analysis of stomach samples.

Prof. Barry Marshall, Perth, Australia
Current active research partner in Perth – H. pylori genomics.

Prof. Samuel Lundin, Göteborg, Sweden / Perth, Australia.
Works full time on the project in Göteborg and Perth.

Dr Malin Östensson, Göteborg, Sweden.
Works half time in the project in Göteborg during 2016. The salary of Malin is paid by the foundation.

Dr Kaisa Thorell, Stockholm.
Previously PhD student on the project in Göteborg. Kaisa is now working as scientist at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Results from the research project

In a way you can argue that until a research result is published in a scientific journal, the result does not actually exist. Before a scientific paper can be published, it is reviewed by other scientists in the field, and the reviewers provide their comments. Sometimes the researchers have to go back to the lab and redo certain analyses, or make new ones, in order for the research results can be viewed as valid. The paper is not published until the reviewers have approved the contents.

The papers/publications made in the project during the last couple of years are:

  • In the journal Helicobacter (2013, Jenni Adamsson et.al.). We described differences between antibody-responses between patients suffering from stomach cancer and individuals with H. pylori infection but without cancer.
  • In the journal BMC Medical Genomics (2013, Intawat Nookaew et.al.). We described how the gene useage differ between individuals with early stomach changes and people with H. pylori infection but without stomach changes.
  • PhD thesis by Kaisa Thorell, who was a PhD student in the project (2014, Gothenburg University). Kaisa described her results regarding characterisation of H. pylori bacteria and H. pylori infection among people in Sweden and Nicaragua, with and without early stomach changes caused by the infection.
  • In the journal Gastric Cancer (2016, Bert Kindlund et.al.). We describe how inhibitory immune cells, regulatory T cells, work in people suffering from stomach cancer.

Several new papers are in the pipeline, we expect that 2-3 new papers will be accepted for publication during 2016.