Pernilla Wikström, one of the co-founders of Phenotype Diagnostics.

Pernilla Wikström, Professor at the Department of Medical Biosciences at Umeå universitet, and one of the founders and owners of UBI-supported Phenotype Diagnostics, has received 10 million Swedish kronor from the Cancer Research Foundation in Northern Sweden (Cancerforskningsfonden i Norrland) for her research on prostate cancer.

Pernilla’s research has shown that there are at least three different types of aggressive prostate cancer, one of which is particularly difficult to diagnose.

In parallel with her research, Pernilla has co-founded the company Phenotype with two colleagues (Elin Thysell, biostatistician, and Anders Bergh, pathologist), which is working to develop a new clinical method for risk assessment and treatment stratification in men with prostate cancer.

We contacted Pernilla about the grant, which is distributed over two million SEK per year for five years.

Congratulations on the grant. What does it mean for your research to receive this funding?
“Thank you! It’s fantastic that the Cancer Research Foundation can distribute so much money to research. Funding for applied research is important for transforming basic research into results that can then reach patients and make a difference. This means that we can dare to take on a few new things and organize ourselves to take new approaches.”

What are you focusing on in your research right now?
“In connection with the 10 million SEK, we will try to add a dimension and, in collaboration with radiophysicists and radiochemists, investigate whether different imaging methods, such as MRI and PET, have the potential to find the most dangerous prostate cancer group in the clinic”.

“We have already had a good research collaboration with Andreas Josefsson, urologist, Camilla Thellenberg-Karlsson, oncologist, and Sead Crnalic, orthopedist. In the new collaboration, Tufve Nyholm, Professor of Medical Radiation Physics, and Sara Strandberg, Associate Professor and Senior Physician in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and Per Fransson, Professor in Oncology Nursing, are involved. In the future, we also plan to move from retrospective to prospective clinical trials in collaboration with a constellation of researchers.”

You are also one of the founders of Phenotype Diagnostics, what is in the pipeline for Phenotype?
“We are in a phase where we are currently running academic proof-of-concept studies to build more evidence and data for our idea, while we are also simultaneously looking for new investors for Phenotype. It is exciting but also challenging to work on transforming research into a clinical solution!”