Press Release

10 million € investment boosts Finnish capabilities in cancer immunotherapy

Cancer IO is a new cancer immunotherapy focused top-level collaborative research and innovation project that starts as a part of the Business Finland’s Personalized Health Program. This University of Helsinki coordinated project integrates immuno-oncology (IO) activities at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku, 3 University hospitals and one central hospital, 8 Finnish small or medium enterprises, several cancer patient organizations and the 9 largest IO-investing pharmaceutical companies. With a total funding of 10 million euros, Cancer IO is a significant IO focused Nordic research and innovation program.

Recently, the rapid development of immuno-oncology (IO) therapies has transformed the cancer treatment landscape for many different types of cancer. Early capture of IO concepts in research, hospitals and society is important since IO is a fundamentally different approach to cancer treatment. While traditional chemotherapy drugs display more general toxicity acting not only on cancer cells, but also normal cells, IO treatments unlock the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. In essence, IO is a broad therapeutic master plan to outsmart cancer, now becoming available in the clinic with an unprecedented number of new investigational drugs currently developed by established and emerging pharma companies in the world.

The coming age of IO will have a transformative impact on fundamental and clinical cancer research, healthcare systems, business and, most importantly, on the lives of cancer patients. Individual Finnish researchers, hospitals and small companies have already excelled in capturing and developing IO strategies to match the ongoing evolution in the field of cancer research and care but, so far these efforts have lacked synergies that broader coordinated national collaborative can offer.

Cancer IO will specifically boost the Finnish IO capabilities by supporting top-level research, business competitiveness, individualization of care and competence in capturing real-world evidence. In broader picture, Cancer IO will drive creation of a Finnish IO ecosystem and national IO growth strategy, aiming to provide wealth and well-being through disruptive Finnish IO innovations and better care. Cancer IO is coordinated by Dr. Jeroen Pouwels and Research Director Juha Klefström.

Kaiku Health takes part in this significant national project with its digital health intervention platform for detecting and managing immune-related adverse events during and after cancer immunotherapy treatments. The platform also includes first-of-its-kind algorithms for predictive toxicity management based on machine learning. Combined, they can lead to more timely interventions and improved outcomes for patients. In the project, the use of Kaiku Health platform will enable capturing and analysis of real-world data from cancer immunotherapies as well as generation of further evidence on its impact on treatment outcomes.

Further information: Research Director Juha Klefström (juha.klefstrom (at) or Coordinator Jeroen Pouwels (jeroen.pouwels (at)


About Kaiku Health
Kaiku Health is a digital health intervention platform classified as a Medical Device in cancer care. Its algorithms screen symptoms, notify care team and provide personalised support for patients. Kaiku Health has modules for over 25 cancer types across different cancer care pathways and is currently in use in over 40 European cancer clinics and hospitals. For more information, visit:


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