Research

Clinical Researcher funding to Olli Lohi and Reetta Sartoneva

Viitekuvassa stetoskooppi
The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment (BTY) granted Clinical Researcher funding to Research Director Olli Lohi and Postdoctoral Researcher Reetta Sartoneva. The Council awarded ten Clinical Researcher grants. The high scientific quality of the applications was highlighted in the funding decisions.

Olli Lohi develops precision medicine for paediatric and adolescent acute leukaemia. The four-year project will begin in September.

The treatment of acute leukaemia in children and adolescents is lengthy and causes a wide variety of short- and long-term adverse events. Despite intensive treatments, some patients experience a relapse.

The project will elucidate the detailed mechanisms of acute leukaemia by which the disease arises and resists therapies. Based on these findings, novel precision therapies are sought especially for patients with a high risk for a relapse. The study involves many international collaborations and utilises animal models of leukaemia and drug screening settings in addition to cell culture models and patient samples.

Tissue engineering as a new treatment option for gynaecological prolapses

Reetta Sartoneva investigates tissue engineering as an option to treat gynaecological prolapses.

Pelvic organ prolapses (POP) are highly common, affecting over 300 million women worldwide. The first prolapse is usually surgically repaired with the patient’s own fascia but the probability of a relapse is high. Relapsed POP are operated using non-degradable polypropylene meshes which causes many problems such as pelvic pain, mesh erosion and migration meaning that almost all meshes have been recalled.

The study will develop synthetic biodegradable materials for the surgical repair of relapsed POP. In addition to biomaterials, the project will study different factors to achieve native-like fascia. Thus far, tissue engineering has not been much used to treat POP. When successful, the project will develop new treatment methods for women suffering from POP.

BTY: An important funding instrument due to cutbacks in clinical research

The Academy of Finland funds part-time research by physicians and researchers engaged in clinical practice. The aim is to promote clinical research careers in cooperation with, for example, university hospitals, and to encourage medical doctors and other researchers working in clinical practice to engage in research.

This year, the Clinical Researcher funding granted by BTY totals €2.4 million. A total of 45 applications were processed and 22% of them were granted funding. Six of the 10 funding recipients are women. Women accounted for 47% of all applicants.

BTY attaches great importance to clinical researcher funding. The funding has been found to be very significant because cuts made in the research funding of university hospitals in previous years have led to compromises on clinical research.

The funding scheme for clinical researchers also provides extensive funding for researchers in different fields, such as physicists and veterinarians. BTY is thus keen to encourage clinical researchers to apply for funding with an ever wider thematic scope.

Academy of Finland’s press release 26 May 2021

Photo: Pexels

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