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Cancer Drug Discovery

  • Summer school
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  • Health and well-being
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The Cancer Drug Discovery Summer School 1.-3.6.2021 is organized online by Cancer Research Community at the University of Eastern Finland.  Lectures are free of charge and open to all interested. Please register by (extended) 20.5.2021. 

Course description: 
This course will present state-of-the-art science in cancer drug discovery. The course consists of three days of seminars including attendee presentations on the day 3. The goal of the course is to gain a wide overview of cancer drug discovery introduced by top-level cancer researchers nationally and internationally. 
The course includes a range of aspects from molecular target discovery, structural and chemical biology, use of tissue organoids and in vivo models for drug discovery. The course will consist of latest techniques, analysis methods and bioinformatics related to cellular, tissue, high throughput, sequencing and imaging technologies utilized in different stages or drug discovery process. The methods are presented in the contexts of real-life research questions and projects, providing attendees with knowledge of the state-of-the-art science performed both in UEF and the represented institutes. Not only will this course be useful to researchers working in cancer research, but the techniques are applicable to other research fields as well.  

Credit points: 1–2

  • 1 for attendance at lectures both days
  • 2 for attendance at the lectures both days and a presentation on day 3. 

Course directors: Kirsi Ketola, Anna-Liisa Levonen, Leena Latonen, Sanna Pasonen-Seppänen 
Organizing Units: RC Cancer, Institute of Biomedicine & A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland 
For more information, please contact course directors: Kirsi Ketola, email; Anna-Liisa Levonen, email; Leena Latonen, email; Sanna Pasonen-Seppänen, email  
Course secretary: Maarit Sillanpää, email  



Day 1 - Tuesday, June 1st 2021  


08.30-09.00 Connections  

09.00-09.10 Opening words, Kirsi Ketola  


Session 1: Target Discovery in Cancer  

Session chair: Kirsi Ketola   

09.10-09.40 KEYNOTE Asst. Prof. Mads Daugaard (Vancouver Prostate Centre, University of British Columbia): Novel tumor targeting systems based on parasite-derived recombinant proteins  

09.40-10.10 PhD Kari Kurppa (University of Turku): Eliminating the seeds of relapse - targeting residual disease following cancer therapy 

10.10-10.40 Juha Rantala (Misvik Biology, Turku): Predictive ex vivo therapy efficacy modelling in rare cancers  

10.40-11.10 Dr. Emmy Verschuren (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki): Diagnostic targeting in the context of lung cancer heterogeneity 

 11.10-12.00 Lunch break


Session 2: Proteomics-based target identification  

Session chair: Leena Latonen        

12.00-12.30 Docent Markku Varjosalo (University of Helsinki): SARS-CoV-2 –host proteome interactions for antiviral drug discovery   

12.30-13.00 Prof. Tetsuya Terasaki (University of Eastern Finland): Targeted proteomics and pharmacoproteomics in cancer research 

13.00-13.30 Prof. Antti Poso, (School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland): Molecular modeling: case KRAS   

13.30-14.00 Prof. Jorma Palvimo (University of Eastern Finland): Steroid receptor protein interactomes   

14.00-14.20 Coffee break  


Session 3: Methodologies and drug discovery   

Session chair: Anna-Liisa Levonen  

14.20-14.50 Asst. Prof. Taru Muranen (Harvard Medical School): The role of tumor microenvironment on drug resistance  

14.50-15.20 Asst. Prof. Nada Lallous (Vancouver Prostate Centre, University of British Columbia): Protein biophysics as a tool for drug Discovery  

 15.20-15.50 Meet the expert session in Zoom groups: Asst. Prof. Taru Muranen, Asst. Prof. Nada Lallous 


Day 2 - Wednesday, June 2nd 2021  

Session 4: Precision medicine and Industrial collaboration  

Chair: Mauro Scaravilli   

9.00-9.30 Asst. Prof. Vittorio Fortino (Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland):  Bioinformatics in drug discovery and drug re-purposing  

9.30-10.00 Director, Oncology Research Anu Moilanen (Orion Pharma): Therapeutic targeting of androgen receptor signalling in castration-resistant prostate cancer 

10.00-10.30 Prof. Sirpa Jalkanen (University of Turku): Control of Immunosuppression - a Clever Approach      

10.30-10.50 Coffee break  


Session 5: Structural Biology and Pharmacology   

Chair: Heidi Kaljunen  

10.50-11.20 Dr. Minna Rahnasto-Rilla (School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland): Dual role of SIRT6 in cancer   

11.20-11.50 Docent Leena Latonen (University of Eastern Finland): Integrative proteogenomics of prostate cancer  

11.50-12.20 Asst. Prof. Kristiina Huttunen (University of Eastern Finland): Targeted (pro)drugs for improved treatment of brain tumors 

 12.20-13.00 Lunch break   


Session 6: Cancer Immunotherapies  

Chair: Sanna Pasonen-Seppänen  

13.00-13.30 PhD Diana Schenkwein (A.I. Virtanen Institute, University of Eastern Finland): CAR-T therapies in cancer 

13.30-14.00 Docent Tuija Kekarainen (Kuopio Center for cell and gene therapy): Cellular immunotherapies; developing future therapies for cancer  

 Coffee break 14-14.15    


14.15-14.45 Docent Maija Hollmen (University of Turku): Macrophage targeted immunotherapy - clinical development of bexmarilimab 

14.45-15.15 Prof. Satu Mustjoki (University of Helsinki): Immune landscape of hematological malignancies and functional screening tools   

15.15–15.45 Meet the expert session in Zoom groups: Prof. Sirpa Jalkanen, Prof. Satu Mustjoki  

 Closing remarks: Leena Latonen  


Day 3 - Thursday, 3 June 
Selected 15 min presentations at 9-16.