Technical Research Centre of Finland

The VTT Medical Biotechnology Centre in Turku was launched in 2002 and has 65  staff. It belongs to the Translational Genome-Scale Biology consortium (www.tgsb.fi), which was nominated as a Centre of Excellence for 2006-2011 by the Academy of Finland. VTT develops novel high-throughput functional biochip technologies and integrates these with scientific knowledge to deliver new therapeutic possibilities in cancer treatment. The focus is on identifying primary driver genes and targets of genetic alterations in breast and prostate cancer, and analysis of the effects of genes and proteins on living cells using high-throughput RNAi and cell-based functional screening. The molecular discoveries are further developed to clinical use by utilising lysate and tissue array technologies. In the in-silico screening programme, novel disease and tissue specific genes can be identified and validated further. Microarray technologies are integrated and applied with systems biology approaches to  characterise cancer cell functions, i.e. regulation of cell division, control of mitosis and cell migration.
 Professor Olli Kallioniemi has been the developer and early adopter of many high-throughput technologies, including comparative genomic hybridization (CGH, 1992), tissue microarrays (1998), CGH microarrays (2001), NMD-microarrays (2002) and cell-based (RNAi) microarrays (2003). These tools have facilitated identification of several critical genes in cancer and their clinical associations, including AIB1 and S6K in breast cancer, and AR, S100P and ERG in prostate cancer. Dr. Petri Saviranta develops multi-well microarrays for diagnostic and research applications, and supervises the biochip team with a focus on array-based tools for high throughput systems biology in breast and prostate cancer.
Role in AFFINOMICS: The laboratory has developed a cell spot microarray for large-scale parallel RNAi studies and utilises it for binder validation (specific target knockdown, WP3) and functional studies of cellular protein complexes (knocking down one partner and observing the behaviour of the others) (WP6). High density cell lysate arrays (up to 9000 spots on a microsope slide) are used for binder validation in cancer cell line lysates (WP5). In silico transcriptomic database are utilised to prioritise cancer-specific targets for binder generation and clinical validation.