Cancer Stress Biology research group led by Docent Leena Latonen studies the molecular, cellular, and tissue mechanisms that contribute to the increased ability of cancer cells to tolerate stress. We focus on the molecular mechanisms behind the ability of cancer cells to form resistance to drugs, for example through studying the different capacities of cancer and neuronal cells to deal with protein and RNA aberrations. We also query the cancer growth patterns in tissue combining this to molecular information in order to better understand the mechanisms behind cancer cells’ ability to survive in the crossfire of different stress types. In our tissue analysis collaboration projects we search for better ways to image, visualise, and quantitatively analyse tissue alterations and histology of cancer with development of digital pathology, machine learning, and AI tools.

Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind detrimental tissue effects in disease are key to find more efficient treatments for patients. Better understanding of cellular stress responses enables identification of novel drug targets. If we can inhibit the increased ability of cancer cells to bypass toxic amounts of stress, we can identify ways to destroy cancer cells. On the other hand, by activating the stress responses in cells that are unable to buffer out toxic effects, we may prevent the damage on cells and tissues in diseases such as neurodegeneration.

We are a part of The Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Community within University of Eastern Finland bringing together the expertise on the molecular mechanisms, genomics, and quantitative imaging analysis of cancer with clinical understanding of the diagnostics and treatment, with the goal to bring personalized medicine to the clinic. The Multidisciplinary Cancer RC builds a translational cancer research cluster with Kuopio University Hospital, FICAN East, The Biobank of Eastern Finland, and Kuopio data lake.

We belong to the Steroid Receptor Research Center utilizing state-of-the-art experimental and computational methods to study molecular mechanisms of steroid hormone receptor functions especially in regulation of chromatin, transcription, and treatment resistance relevant for hormone-dependent cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer.

Our main funding sources are the Finnish Academy, ERA PerMed, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Finnish Cancer Organizations, and the Finnish Cancer Institute.