Prof. Kari Alitalo

Council Officer – Economy and Sponsor Group


Research Programs Unit, Translational Cancer Medicine Research Program, University of Helsinki and Wihuri Research Institute, Finland


Academy Professor Kari Alitalo is Director of the Translational Cancer Medicine Research Program and Scientific Director of the iCAN Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. He also serves as Director of the Wihuri Research Institute. He obtained M.D. and Ph.D. in Medical Science from the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has previously worked as Professor of Medical Biochemistry, at the University of Turku, Finland, Research Professor at the Finnish Cancer Institute, and as Director of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Translational Cancer Biology at the University of Helsinki and University of Turku.

Mission Statement

Dr. Alitalo and collaborators work on translational aspects of vascular growth factors in development, physiology, cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and obesity. Of special interest to his team are angiopoietins and their Tie1 and Tie2 receptor complex, lymphangiogenic growth factor VEGF-C and its receptor VEGFR-3, and VEGF-B as a growth factor for coronary and adipose vasculature. Dr. Alitalos’ laboratory has demonstrated VEGF-C induced tumor lymphangiogenesis and metastasis, and developed inhibitors of the VEGFR-3 signal transduction pathway, which are in clinical trials in age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, and growth factor therapy for lymphedema. – A recent finding by the laboratory was the discovery of meningeal lymphatic vessels.