About CanCell

CanCell is a research centre that aims at uncovering the “Achilles’ heels” of cancer cells and target these for reprogramming cancer cells into harmless cells.

Cancer remains a major disease group which causes suffering of patients and their relatives and imposes a heavy burden on the health care system.


There is thus an urgent need to improve cancer treatment through research, but our recent ability to sequence cancer genomes from thousands of patients has so far had limited impact on cancer therapy. 

A major obstacle to translating “big data” information from DNA sequencing into clinical benefit is our incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which genetic and epigenetic modifications affect tumour cells, and how the tumour microenvironment and somatic tissues promote cancer progression.

Vision and strategy in short

CanCell’s vision is to elucidate changes in cellular pathways that are rewired during cancer development, defined as “cancer cell programmes”, including cell signalling, metabolism, membrane dynamics, and genome/chromatin organisation.

The centre’s unique strategy is to reveal cross-talk between these programmes via close cooperation between six research groups with expertise on the individual processes.

Innovative methods and collaborations with a strong interdisciplinary team of associate members and world-leading visiting professors will further enhance the impact of CanCell’s research.

Paving the way

In vitro models with cultured cells and in vivo models with fruit flies, zebrafish and mice will be used to recapitulate cancer progression in individual cells and in organisms, with special emphasis on tumour-microenvironment interactions.

These integrated analyses will identify novel oncogene and non-oncogene addiction pathways that cancer cells are particularly dependent on for their growth, spreading and survival, thus exposing “Achilles’ heels” of cancer.

This will be exploited for “reprogramming” cancer cells into non-malignant cells in vitro and in vivo to pave the way for novel cancer therapies.


CanCell's strategy is to unite the forces of researchers with expertise on distinct cancer cell programmes in order to identify their cross-talk.


CanCell consists of six research group with distinct expertise on cellular pathways that are rewired during cancer development.