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University of Helsinki

University Communications

August 24, 2004

 

University of Helsinki to coordinate two large EU research projects

 

The European Union has granted nearly 25 MÄ to two large-scale interdisciplinary research projects coordinated by the University of Helsinki. The project leaders are professor Raimo Tuominen from the UHís Faculty of Pharmacy and Academy Professor Kari Alitalo from UHís Molecular and Cancer Biology Laboratory. Both projects are part of the European Commissionīs Sixth Framework Programme for Life Sciences, Genomics, and Biotechnology for Health.

 

Protein kinases are promising drug targets

The integrated research project lead by professor Tuominen carrying out basic research into Protein kinases (PKs) was granted over 15 . The project is the largest in the 6th framework programme (FP6ís) for Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health.

 

Protein kinases belong to the largest single family of enzymes, accounting for almost 2% of the proteins encoded by the human genome. Recent success in drug discovery demonstrates that PKs are excellent drug targets. The objectives of the research project are to do basic research on protein kinases and to develop PK inhibitors and activators by designing and screening natural compounds from the European biosphere and compounds from chemical libraries.

 

The research consortium combines European expertise on basic research on PKs and rational drug discovery, in order to develop new drug candidates for major diseases like cancer, autoimmune disorders, vascular diseases and degenerative brain diseases. The consortium consists of 23 partners from 11 countries.
 

Lymphatic vasculature has an essential role in metastasis of cancer

The biomedical research project lead by Academyprofessor Alitalo was granted 9 MÄ. The project aims at a better understanding of the growth and function of the lymphatic vasculature, with a strong emphasis on the discovery of novel regulatory agents.

 

The lymphatic vasculature is essential for the maintenance of tissue fluid balance and has an essential role in various pathological conditions such as metastasis of cancer. Recent results suggest that inhibition of lymphatic vessel growth in tumors can block metastasis. Novel discoveries in the field can also be applied to the development of  new pharmaceuticals for inflammatory and heart diseases.

 

The project encompasses European specialists on genetics, genome research, cancer research, developmental biology, cardiovascular research, pathology and biotechnology and combines 11 academic research institutes and two companies from eight European countries.

 

The 6th framework programme (FP6) is the frame for the EU activities in the field of science, research and innovation. With a budget of 17.5 billion euros for the years 2002 - 2006 it represents about 4 to 5 percent of the overall expenditure on RTD in EU Member States.

 

Further details

Prof. Raimo K. Tuominen, tel. +358-9-191 59469, e-mail: raimo.tuominen(at)helsinki.fi

Professor Kari Alitalo, MD, PhD, Tel: +358-9-1912 5511, e-mail: kari.alitalo(at)Helsinki.Fi

http://www.lymphomic.org

 

Further information on the 6th framework programme: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/index_en.html