AWARDS. The Assar Gabrielssons Foundation has appointed Malin Lindén as prize winner in the basic science research category and Aron Onerup as prize winner in the clinical research category. The prize winners are rewarded with SEK 100,000 each, which is paid to Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg as an extra research grant.
Assar Gabrielsson’s prize is awarded for 2023 excellent theses in cancer research within the Region Västra Götaland. Two prize winners are selected: one in basic science cancer research and one in clinical cancer research.
“This year’s award winners have contributed to important knowledge about cancer diseases. Aron Onerup showed that physical activity before surgery for colon and rectal cancer made the patients recover better afterwards. Malin Lindén studied how certain proteins affect the onset of a type of sarcoma, and this knowledge may in the future lead to new treatments for these diseases”, comments Professor Eva Forssell-Aronsson, who is an executive member of the Assar Gabrielsson Foundation.
Advanced basic science studies
The clinical research award goes to advanced basic science studies of human sarcomas originating from the body’s supporting tissues, and specifically those caused by the highly potent FET family of tumor-specific proteins. The studies provide new understanding of how these types of sarcomas arise. The results may eventually lead to the development of new targeted treatment for patients with these types of sarcoma.
Malin Lindén studied biotechnology at Chalmers University of Technology and graduated with a Master of Science in Bioengineering 2012. She was awarded the John Ericsson medal for outstanding scholarship from Chalmers. Malin started working as a research engineer in tumor biology at Sahlgrenska center for cancer research in 2015. Then, she performed a PhD in sarcoma biology and graduated in December 2021 with the thesis “FET fusion oncoproteins in sarcoma tumorigenesis- Interactions with the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex and epigenetic effects”. During this time, Malin was an integral part in determining a molecular mechanism for tumor development in a subgroup of tumor types called FET sarcoma. Malin’s work has resulted in 6 publications, and her first paper describing this oncogenic mechanism already has over 30 citations. Malin is currently working as a postdoc at Sahlgrenska center for cancer research, where she explores the possibilities to identify novel drug targets in order to develop targeted therapies and ultimately treat all FET sarcomas.
Clinically relevant and well-conducted studies
The prize for clinical research goes to clinically relevant and well-conducted studies of the effects of so-called prehabilitation before surgery for colon and rectal cancer. The research showed that physical activity before surgery benefited recovery after curative cancer surgery for colon and rectal cancer. The results can lead to a better understanding of how prehabilitation can be carried out in the best way and can also be applied to other forms of cancer.
Aron Onerup is a paediatrician and resident physician in paediatric oncology at the Children’s Cancer Center at Queen Silvia’s Children’s Hospital at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. He studied medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and has worked at Sahlgrenska University Hospital both before and during general practice and during the specialist service in child and adolescent medicine at Queen Silvia’s Children’s Hospital.
Since medical school, Aron has had an interest in the health benefits of physical activity and he did his project work in physical activity and cardiovascular disease. He then focused his research on physical activity prior to surgery for colorectal cancer in particular and whether it can improve recovery. This led to a dissertation that Aron defended his thesis with in March 2021. In parallel with the thesis, Aron also participated in work evaluating the method physical activity on prescription and as author and editor of the book Physical Activity in Disease Prevention and Disease Treatment (FYSS).
Since the summer of 2022, Aron is a postdoc at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, where he studies the importance of lifestyle for the risk of developing late complications to treatment for childhood cancer. Aron has received several research grants and prizes in national and international competition and will after returning to Sweden continue to study the risk of late complications after childhood cancer.
BY : ELIN LINDSTRÖM & THE ASSAR GABRIELSSON FOUNDATION