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Karin Welen

RESEARCHER

Department of
Urology
Telephone
Fax
+46 31-41 32 90
Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 1F
41390 Göteborg
Room number
4526B
Postal address
Su sahlgrenska
41345 Göteborg

About Karin Welen

The research project run by Karin Welén focuses on metastasized prostate cancer, the late stage of the disease responsible for its high mortality. The project has two parts where one aims to develop of biomarkers for identification of the patients with most benefit from specific therapeutic options, and the other to increase knowledge about the process whereby prostate cancer cells establish metastases in the skeleton.

Circulating tumor cells Today, several therapeutic options for metastasized prostate cancer exist, but unfortunately not all patients benefit equally. Since the metastatic disease behaves differently in patients, there is a need to characterize the molecular properties of the metastases to be able to select the treatment with highest probability to work in each patient. The biomarker part of the project is based on the hypothesis that the cancer cells that spread to the blood, so called circulating tumor cells (CTCs), display properties reflecting those present in the metastases that need to be targeted. By isolating and analyzing CTCs it may be possible to identify the therapy with the highest potential to treat the individual patient.

Tumor cells in the skeleton To be able to develop more efficient therapies, and eventually inhibit metastasis, the details of the process by which the cancer cells establish and thrive at the metastatic site, and how that process is regulated must be elucidated. By in vitro- and in vivo studies, the research group studies how prostate cancer cells interact with different types of bone cells, and especially how androgen signaling and therapeutic androgen ablation influence the resulting metastases. The results from the experimental studies are verified in blood and tissue samples from patients.

Covidenza Karin Welén is, together with Andreas Josefsson at Umeå Universitet, PI for the randomized clinical phase II trial Covidenza (covidenza.se). A drug used for patients with metastatic prostate cancer will in this trial be evaluated for its potential to decrease the symptoms of covid-19. The rational for the trial is based on the observation that men more often experience severe symptoms of covid-19, and that critical proteins for SARS-CoV-2 infection are known to be androgen regulated. The drug enzalutamide (Xtandi) which inhibits the effects of testosterone will be given to hospitalized covid-19 patients for five days, and its effect on disease progression will be evaluated.