Blood Service awards research grants to 10 projects

Funding for cell therapies and research into blood cells and stem cell transplants – the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service has awarded its 2022 research grants.

​The 2022 grants have been awarded to 10 research projects on cell therapy, extracellular membrane blisters and transplant research. All of the funded projects will be carried out external to the Blood Service, at universities or hospitals. The Blood Service awarded a total of EUR 500,000 in research grants.

Six of the awarded grants are related to the research and development in cell therapies. The project teams work on solutions such as treatments based on CAR and NK cells for the treatment of cancers. With CAR technology, a structure is added to the cells of the patient’s immune system, allowing the immune system to target cancer cells and kill them. NK cells in the blood, or natural killer cells, target and kill the body’s own defective or virus-containing cells.

The Blood Service is looking for new possibilities to use blood cells, and especially the extracellular blister cells produced by these cells. Three of the awarded grants support research in this area. The largest of these is a research project led by Professor Marjo Yliperttula who, together with her team, studies the use of nanofibrillated cellulose as a carrier of blood products in the treatment of deep wounds.

The Blood Service is responsible for tissue compatibility tests for all organ and stem cell transplants in Finland. One of the largest 2022 grants was awarded to a project led by Docent Eliisa Kekäläinen to study the recovery of B cells in the blood following a blood stem cell transplant.

The largest grants are worth EUR 80,000 and they have been awarded to five 2- or 3-year-long research projects.

“This is the second time that the Blood service has awarded grants from its research fund. We were delighted to receive more applications than last year, and the level of the applications was high, too. With the help of the grants, we want to support research in these important areas also outside the Blood Service,” Jukka Partanen, the Research Director of the Blood Service, says.


The Blood Service Research Fund grants 2022


Independent docent-level researchers:


Yliperttula Marjo: Nanofibrilloitu selluloosa verituotteiden kantajana syvän haavan hoidossa. 80 000 €

Li Wei: Adoptive transfer of macrophages with high drug-carrying capacity for autoimmune disease therapy. 80 000 €

Klefström Juha: Developing immunogenic cell death assay platform for next generation combinatorial immunotherapies. 80 000 €

Hemminki Akseli: Boosting NK cell therapy anti-tumour efficacy for treatment of immunosuppressive solid tumours with an engineered oncolytic adenovirus coding for a human vIL-2 cytokine. 80 000 €

Kekäläinen Eliisa: Unraveling the root cause for failed B cell immune reconstitution after stem cell transplantation. 80 000 €

Ojala Päivi ja Leppä Sirpa: Dual tumor and microenvironment targeting by Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cells. 30 000 €


Post‐doc researchers:


Hanzlíková Martina: Cell-based measuring platforms for real-time monitoring of blood-derived extracellular vesicles cell uptake kinetics. 30 000 €


Doctoral researchers:


Lee Moon Hee: Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in Renal Cell Carcinoma patients. 10 000 €

Puutio Johanna: Fractionation and characterization of small extracellular vesicle subpopulations from human platelets. 20 000 €

Maldonado Rocio: CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering to generate a metabolic safety mechanism for cell-based therapies. 10 000 €



Last modified: 10.03.2023