A research project led by Johanna Olweus from the Department of Immunology at the Institute for Cancer Research, Radiumhospitalet is presented on the front page of the April 29th issue of the national newspaper "Dagbladet", under the heading "Norwegian researchers with breakthrough: Killer cells beat cancer".
The scientist have managed to separate T cells that cause graft-versus-host disease from those causing graft-versus-leukemia. The T cells causing the positive effect are stimulated with protein fragments (peptides) from leukemia cells and the same fragments are used to generate labels that allow separation of the cells. These T cells recognize the cancer cells via their T cell receptors. The group has cloned these receptors and demonstrated that they recognize their targets with a high degree of specificity.
Olweus emphasizes that a large group of people have contributed to the results. Importantly, the concepts and ideas behind the work were worked out in close collaboration with Fridtjof Lund-Johansen MD,PhD. Lund-Johansen is a physician at the Section for hematology, Rikshospitalet and leads a project aiming to dechipher the proteome of leukemic cells. Among other important contributors she wants to emphasize that Ingerid Abrahamsen and Erlend Strønen did the majority of the cell assays, whereas Sébastien Wälchli and Jorunn Johansen did the T cell receptor cloning. Olweus says that the support and expertise in the research environment at the Institute for Cancer Research at Radiumhospitalet has been very important for achieving the results, which are currently under submission. Furthermore she points out the importance of funding from the Norwegian Research Council, Rikshospitalet Research Council (FFU), Health Region South-East and Medinnova. The family of Øyvind Andre Grøseth, who established the ØA foundation, has been an important source of inspiration, and the foundation has given the project financial support.
Click on the images below to open the Dagbladet pages in PDF format (in Norwegian).
The Immunotherapy and Antigen presentation group, headed by professor Johanna Olweus