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[Clinical Talks] iCAN and developing a national precision cancer medicine program

May 6, 09:00 - 09:30
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Clinical Talks
events@scilifelab.se
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[Clinical Talks] iCAN and developing a national precision cancer medicine program

May 6, 2022 @ 09:00 09:30 CEST

On May 6, Professor Tomi Mäkelä at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine will talk about his work as executive officer of the iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine flagship. iCAN is one of the Academy of Finland national research and innovation flagships for 2019-2026, with the goal to develop a nucleus of scientific excellence into competence clusters for discoveries, innovations, and societal and economic impact. The founding hosts are the University of Helsinki and HUS Helsinki University Hospital with a goal for national reach within the National Cancer Center FICAN. While executed as a public-private-patient-partnership, iCAN brings together academic research, healthcare system, life science industry partners and patients. The active participation of patients at all levels is a key element of the flagship, ensuring impact and benefits to the patients. Partnerships with companies from pharma, biotech, and AI sectors are critical and enable the inclusion of early drug leads, new technologies, and new competencies. Furthermore, iCAN leverages the unique strengths that Finland has in the areas of top-level cancer research, health registries, biobanks, and digital health to provide solutions for the global cancer challenge.

Tomi Mäkelä, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine, and the Executive Officer of the Finish iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine flagship program. He obtained an MD and PhD in Oncology and Cancer Biology during his studies in the late 80, early 90s at the University of Helsinki. He then pursued his postdoctoral studies at the prestigious Whitehead Institute, Cambridge Massachusetts 1993-1995, and in 2002 became a Professor at the University of Helsinki. Since, then he has held various leadership positions at the University, including, Director of the Institute of Biotechnology (2009-2014), Director of HiLIFE Helsiniki Institute of Life Science (2015-2019), Director of Biomedicum Helsinki (2017-present). Prof. Mäkelä is also the current Executive Manager of The Finnish Cancer Institute (since 2012), and a panelist and panel chair of the European Research Council since 2011.

The iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine flagship is one of six national flagships in Finland 2019-2026 aiming to develop nuclei of scientific excellence into competence clusters for discoveries, innovations, and societal and economic impact. In iCAN a platform joining Precision Cancer Medicine (PCM) with Digital Health is established for discoveries and improved treatments. iCAN is hosted by the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital HUS and with a goal for national reach within the National Cancer Center FICAN. Leveraging the unique strengths that Finland has in the areas of top-level cancer research, health registries, biobanks, and digital health to provide solutions for the global cancer challenge. iCAN is furthermore organized as a partnership between academic research, healthcare system, life science industry partners and patients. It is a public-private-patient-partnership, forming a competence cluster with significant economic, educational, and societal impact. The active participation of patients at all levels is a key element of the flagship, ensuring impact and benefits to the patients. Partnerships with companies from pharma, biotech, and AI sectors are critical and enable the inclusion of early drug leads, new technologies, and new competencies.

These ambitious goals are accomplished via the unique iCAN digital precision cancer medicine platform, enabling the integration of cutting-edge molecular profiling information from tumors with rich longitudinal health data available in Finland, by eg. addressing tumor development in the context of the immune system or development of treatment resistance. The iCAN discovery platform links molecular profiling of tumors with broader health data of cancer patients, acting as a catalyst for breakthrough research and technologies.The scale of data – 15,000 samples across different cancer types will be profiled by 2026 – enables real impact and broad studies across different cancer types. The platform will enable an improved understanding of the complex interplay between cancer cells and the host.The pan-cancer research project already has ongoing studies in colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, breast, lung, ovarian, renal, prostate, bladder, melanoma, and pediatric solid cancers as well as myeloid leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma.


Clinical Talks” has been renewed for yet another exciting, innovative, and enlightening season. This season will focus on sustainable innovations within Life Sciences, that have the potential to contribute to a better climate friendly future for our future generations. Also new this year is that the seminar is co-organized in a collaboration between SciLifeLab and KI Innovations .

Season 5, will be held September 2021 until March 2022 with scheduled Talks, during Friday mornings 09-09:30 am via ZOOM (with some time-zone friendly adjustments for our international speakers). Each session consists of a talk given by our invited speaker followed by Q&A. The seminar is an open educational seminar series for our ever-expanding Life Science community.

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