Study: Biomarkers can contribute to earlier cancer detection


Benjamin Ulfenborg, researcher at the University of Skövde who will publicly defend his doctoral dissertation on February 3, hopes to be able to contribute to an as early detection as possible of cell changes that indicate cancer or a cancer risk. His study aims at finding so called bio markers in order to identify changes in cells that can indicate the development of cancer. “Right now, there’s no immediate clinical use for what I have found. But in the long term, I think that this kind of research will be very important for diagnostics and prognostics—or predictions—of cancer,” says Benjamin who is a doctoral student at the School of Bioscience and associated with the School of Health Sciences at the University of Örebro. The public defense of his doctoral dissertation will take place at the University of Skövde.

Cancer is the second-most common cause of death in the world. Last year, more than 60,000 Swedes were diagnosed with cancer. To a large extent, cancer research is focused on detecting biomarkers related to cancer, a form of research which is being carried out at the University of Skövde as well as in other places.

“A biomarker is a biological molecule in tissues and body fluids which can be used to predict or determine the state of a disease. The purpose of my dissertation is just to develop ‘tools’ for identifying and assessing new biomarkers,” says Benjamin.

In 2004, he started studying at the biodata program and he has an M.A. in molecular biology, but he had his mind set on doing research and he found what he was looking for nearby, in Skövde. It was the combination of data and bioscience there that was appealing to Benjamin.

“To analyze data is more my thing than standing in a laboratory.”

After receiving his PhD, Benjamin Ulfenborg aims to spend a couple of years on temporary research duty, so called postdoc. Where he will continue his research is not fully clear, but Benjamin has plans for an analysis of large-scale data.

“I don’t mind staying at the University of Skövde since we here do research that suits me well and that I’m interested in.”

One more thing, if you are from Skaraborg [the region where Skövde is located] and think that the surname Ulfenborg sounds familiar, you are right. Benjamin’s grandfather was Harald Ulfenborg, the founder and owner of the legendary furniture company Ulferts in Tibro.

Benjamin Ulfenborg