Head and Neck Cancer Research

    Group Leader

    Sami Ventelä, MD, PhD
    Specialist in otorhinolaryngology

    Email: satuve [at] utu.fi

    Contact Information

    Turku Bioscience P.O. Box 123, BioCity
    Street addr. Tykistökatu 6 B, 4th floor
    FIN-20521 Turku, Finland


    MD and associate professor Sami Ventelä receives a grant of 300,000€ from the Jane and Aatos Erkko foundation for his research project

    Description of the Research

    Our research focuses in head and neck cancers and specially HNSCC. Head and neck cancers are the sixth commonest cancer type worldwide,and 90% of diagnosed head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs). The prognosis of HNSCC has remained low despite recent advancements in treatment and imaging modalities; five-year survival among HNSCC patients being approximately 50%. HNSCC choice of treatment is selected individually based on tumour TNM classification and histology. Practically most difficult cases are small T1 and T2 HNSCCs which are selected for monotherapy based on their small size, but are later on demonstrated to have high incidence of relapses. Importantly, there are no biomarkers available today that could distinguish more aggressive HNSCCs from non-aggressive tumours. Our hypothesis and clinical hunch is that there exists still an unknown cancer subpopulation(s) in HNSCC, which contain increase in chemo- and / or radioresistance.

    The goal of our research is to find novel cancer biomarkers that could be adapted to clinical practice for the patient’s best. We aim to reach this goal by combining our clinical cancer expertise to Centre for Biotechnology’s modern molecular and cell biology laboratory with modern research core facilities. This kind of interdisciplinary collaboration involving different research environments will most likely bring new solutions to clinical problems of cancerand accelerate the application of cell and molecule biological findings into clinical work.