SPbU and Harvard have won a grant to fight cancer.

The joint fundamental research project was initiated by the RFBR, Russia, and National Cancer Institute USA, in 2017. The Russian and American parties carried out independent evaluation of the 57 received applications and selected 10 projects, including the SPbU’s one. The University was the only university from Russia who was among the winners.

5 mln rubles a year for research from the RFBR and NCI.

During three years, the project “Analysis of the interaction between the tumor and micro-environment in the single cells in follicular lymphoma” will be implemented by SPbU, Harvard and North-West State Medical University named after Mechnikov. Based on the study of the samples from the cancer-stricken patients, the project studies the tumor resulted from the overexpression of the lymphocytes.

Oncological studies is at the forefront of research in biomedicine globally. Scientists develop new treatment solutions to help cancer-stricken patients live longer, while these types of cancer were regarded as fatal some years ago.

 Director of the project, senior research fellow Anna Gorbunova, Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, SPbU

“The recent years have seen advances in treatment of follicular lymphoma. Still we have a long way to go to fight the cancer: doctors may not control how the cancer progresses and most patients consequently die early, — said the Director of the project, senior research fellow Anna Gorbunova, Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, SPbU. — For those people we are aiming to find effective treatment strategies”.

The comprehensive inter-disciplinary project focuses on how cell-cell interaction influences the treatment results and how to make it more adapted and suited for particular purposes. The project brings together experts in medicine, molecular biology, bioinformatics, statistics and even mathematics from Russia and USA.

The cutting-edge technologies allow us to have a new perspective in how the disease progresses, how tumor cells interact between each other and intact cells. Now we can study how the genes work in each cell. This could be seen only in microscope – now we can see it in higher resolution, up to a single molecule.

Director of the project, senior research fellow Anna Gorbunova, Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, SPbU

The project uses the resources offered by SPbU. The Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics will carry out bioinformatica and statistical data analysis, and by using unique equipment of the SPbU’s Research Park the scientists will carry out molecular-genetic analysis of biological samples.

“Cancer is particularly dangerous, consequently we can hardly fight it in the nearest future. However, we can help cancer-stricken patients live longer and study cancer so that it can be regarded as an ordinary chronic disease. That is the aim of our project”, — said Anna Gorbunova.