Photo Åsa Hansdotter

New Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorship in Medicine for research on diagnostic methods for Alzheimer's disease

Professor Oskar Hansson, Lund University, has been appointed to a Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorship at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Vetenskapsakademien. Finding a safe way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease in primary care has long been his dream. The Academy Professorship runs for five years and is made possible by a donation of SEK 10 million from the Torsten Söderberg Foundation.

Oskar Hansson is a professor of neurology and his research team has already identified biomarkers in the blood that can be used to diagnose Alzheimer's. Today, it is therefore possible to detect the disease even before the patient has any symptoms, using a simple blood test. But much work remains to be done before the method can be used on a large scale in primary care.

- "It is incredibly important to have this stable, long-term funding to be able to plan our research. It provides a completely different opportunity to really drive the research projects and also dare to do some more daring research. It is also a great honor, both for me and for my entire research team in Lund," says Professor Oskar Hansson about his appointment as holder of the latest Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorship.

Dementia, including Alzheimer's, is a huge problem. The number of people suffering from dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common cause, is predicted to triple by 2050. At the same time, there are positive developments with new drugs that can actually slow down the progression of the disease.

Initially, Oskar Hansson and his research team focused on developing a diagnostic method based on spinal fluid samples, which have a very high accuracy but needed to be taken at specialist hospital clinics. Five years ago, new, much more sensitive techniques were identified that make it possible to search the blood for phosphorylated tau and amyloid-beta, substances that indicate that a person has Alzheimer's disease.

Now the first step is to start using this method in specialist care. In parallel, Oskar Hansson's research team is also conducting a unique study to see how it works to instead take blood samples in primary care at 27 different health centers in Skåne. So far, the results look fantastic, with over 90 percent accuracy. The research team is convinced that this could be a revolution in diagnosing Alzheimer's in primary care.

Professor Oskar Hansson is appointed holder of the Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorship with the motivation: "for pioneering research on biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, with relevance for early diagnosis, prognosis assessment and development of new treatments".

Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorship in Medicine
The Academy Professorships promote internationally leading research in the field of medicine by enabling the holder to devote full-time research at a Swedish medical faculty for five years. The Torsten Söderberg Foundation donates SEK 10 million to each individual Academy Professorship. Five of these are running in parallel. The appointment is prepared and decided by the Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien after a peer-review procedure. Read more about the Academy Professorships.

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Oskar Hansson, Lund University