Lao Saal

Senior Lecturer, Head, Translational Oncogenomics Unit

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We focus on translating innovative cancer genomics, liquid biopsies, and insights on PTEN/PI3K/AKT signaling in to new clinical applications.  We and others have previously shown the PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathway to be a key promotor of cancer and to be a target for therapeutic modulation. With a particular interest in this pathway, we are applying recent advances in genome-wide technologies to study breast cancer biology with the goal of translating our findings into new clinical applications. We are also investigating the clinical utility of monitoring circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in cancer patients. Specifically, we aim to:

  1. Discover the patterns of gene mutation, genomic aberrations, and gene expression changes within human breast tumors
  2. Ascertain the utility of circulating tumor DNA by "liquid biopsy" as a robust cancer biomarker
  3. Understand the relationship of these aberration patterns to clinicopathological parameters such as patient survival 
  4. Study the functional significance of identified aberrations in model systems 
  5. Utilize this "-omic" information to design and test rational combinatorial therapeutics that target more specifically the actual cancer mutations and pathways that are active in a individual patient's tumor 
  6. Validate and translate to the clinic new biomarker diagnostic assays for selection of optimal therapy and monitoring residual disease and response to therapy
  7. Develop core bioresources and technology/bioinformatics infrastructure 

Our research is facilitated by close cooperation with fellow research units of the Canceromics Branch and Division of Oncology and Pathology, collaborations internationally, partnership with clinical oncologists, surgeons, and pathologists, and participation as one of the principal investigators of the Sweden Canceromics Analysis Network - Breast (SCAN-B) Initiative.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Cancer genomics
  • Cancer biomarkers
  • Cancer therapeutics
  • Tumor biology
  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • Liquid biopsy
  • ctDNA
  • Next-Generation Sequencing


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