Professor of Proteomics
Cancer develops when central genes in a cell mutate. The cell can then begin to grow out of control and form a tumour. What is most dangerous is when individual cells from the tumour acquire the capacity to move around in the body and metastasize. Such cells are sometimes called cancer stem cells. To treat cancer, we need to understand, modify or remove these cells.
Cecilia Williams and her research team study molecular signal pathways that are regulated by the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen increases the risk of breast cancer, but at the same time appears to protect against intestinal cancer. Greater understanding of this mechanism at a molecular level provides possibilities to be able to protect against and treat both breast cancer and intestinal cancer.
The cells’ actors are proteins, and we have 23,000 unique proteins, each of which can exist in different forms. The KTH Royal Institute of Technology is on the forefront in terms of developing new techniques to study the components that control the cells: DNA, RNA and proteins. Through the Science for Life Laboratory, KTH is also the home of one of the world’s largest efforts to map all of mankind’s proteins, the Human Protein Atlas. By combining these techniques with hypothesis-driven cancer research, it is hoped to contribute to breakthroughs in cancer treatment. The work is being done in cooperation with other researchers at KTH, Karolinska Institutet and the Texas Medical Center.