Tuomo Alanko

Oncology

Chief Physician, Medical Oncology
Specialist in Medical Oncology
M.D., Ph.D.

Specialization

Chemotherapy, especially for cancers of the gastrointestinal tract

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Biography

Tuomo Alanko offers expertise in therapy and research of cancer. His particular interest is directed to cancers of the GI tract, such as cancers of the bowel, stomach, pancreas and liver.

Before his doctoral dissertation in 2001, Tuomo Alanko was involved with biomedical research in the field of cell biology at the Haartman Institute of the University of Helsinki. His research focused on how cell signalling and microenvironment affect programmed cell death, which is an important mechanism of the body that destroys senescent and damaged cells. It was basic research that led Alanko to clinical oncology: a cell biologist knows how a cancer cell “thinks”.

Tuomo Alanko qualified as a specialist in oncology in 2005 at the Department of Oncology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, where he also began his career as a clinical researcher. He has worked at Docrates since 2009. He gained experience of the pharmaceutical industry during his year-long employment at AstraZeneca. Alanko feels that developing new medicines and treatment options is vital for the Docrates Cancer Center. The most significant trials Alanko has been involved in include the Finnish FinHer trial (investigating trastuzumab as adjuvant treatment of breast cancer) and a phase I trial on oncolytic virus therapy developed by a group led by professor Akseli Hemminki. Alanko wants Docrates to be both a successful research centre and a trusted and desired partner for academia and pharma industry.

The most important and meaningful aspect of Tuomo Alanko’s work, however, is meeting patients. For him it is most rewarding when the patient feels that he or she is getting help. Inmany cases this means pursuing total recovery but also alleviation of symptoms and a better quality of life are important goals. Progress in research and treatment of cancer bring new hope. Gratitude from the patients and their families is especially rewarding.

While this work can be quite taxing at times, Alanko draws strength from his family. As a counterbalance to work, Alanko relaxes by running and by spending time at the summer cottage together with his family.

An active professional network keeps Tuomo Alanko updated. He regards cooperation in the form of consultations and informal discussions with the treatment team as important and rewarding channels for feedback and development. He also gives speeches and lectures and writes articles. His other commitments include patient organizations and he acts as the current chairman of the executive board of Colores – Finnish Colorectal Cancer Patient Association.

Education

Specialist in Medical Oncology, University of Helsinki 2005
Ph.D., University of Helsinki 2001
M.D., University of Helsinki 1993

Work history

  • Docrates Cancer Center, Chief Physician (Medical Oncology) 2009 -
  • AstraZeneca Finland, Medical Affairs Manager (Oncology) 2008-2009
  • HUH Department of Oncology, Specialist in Medical Oncology/Specialising Physician 2001-2008
  • Haartman Institute, Department of Virology
  • University of Helsinki, Scientist (Cell and Cancer Biology) 1994-2000

Services

Chemotherapy

Scientific activities

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on a subject related to the biology of cancer cells, which granted me the title of Ph.D. from University of Helsinki in 2001. Since 2002 I have worked as a clinical researcher on a number of phase 1-3 clinical drug trials.

Memberships and positions of trust

Finnish Colorectal Cancer Association Colores, Chairman of the Board 2016-
Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health), Permanent Expert 2012-
Finnish Society for Oncology, Member
European Society of Medical Oncology ESMO, Member