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Illustration of method and portrait of Anders Ståhlberg.
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Large collaborative project on ultra-sensitive DNA technology for cancer diagnosis and criminal investigations

Anders Ståhlberg, at the Wallenberg Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, has developed a method for identifying specific DNA from cancer cells through a simple blood test with the potential of earlier cancer diagnosis. The method is now being further developed in a large project together with Rise and other collaboration parts.

The analyzes now to be implemented within the ULTRA project, meet several needs and open up great opportunities in healthcare. Specific DNA from cancer cells can be identified through a simple blood test, meaning cancer and possible relapses can be found at an early stage. The method is also used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and to detect rejection reactions after organ transplants.

DNA analysis is also an important tool for the police in criminal investigations. However, current technology, has limitations in terms of the ability to analyze samples containing DNA from multiple persons, or samples that have poor quality. New, more sensitive DNA techniques mean an ability to analyze samples that couldn’t be handled before, possibly leading to more crimes being solved.

Broad cooperation with several parties

In the project "Ultra-sensitive analyzes for better health and forensic technology (ULTRA)", participants from institutes, academia, healthcare, industry and authorities have collaborated to develop innovative techniques for DNA analysis of different types of body fluids. By developing and combining the benefits of different molecular biology techniques and improved methods for sampling, the project has produced analyzes that are up to a thousand times more sensitive than current methods, over the past 3 years. The project and the analysis methods are now, after a development phase, ready for wider application and implementation. The project, which is coordinated by RISE and consists of 16 different parties, has now received a grant by the innovation authority VINNOVA of SEK 20 million.

The ULTRA project runs from February 2021 to January 2023 and has a total budget of SEK 56 million. The project is funded by VINNOVA, the Västra Götaland region and the parties themselves.

More Information

Press release from Rise [Swedish only]