Young cancer researcher receives Assar Gabrielsson award for research into antioxidants

The 2015 winner of the Assar Gabrielsson award is Volkan Sayin (31). He receives the award for his ground-breaking discoveries relating to the risks of excessive consumption of antioxidants.

In his day, the Volvo Group’s founder, Assar Gabrielsson, took the initiative to establish a foundation that supports young cancer researchers. This year’s winner, Volkan Sayin, receives the award for his research into how an excessive intake of antioxidants indicates an increased risk of cancer.

“The honor of receiving the Assar Gabrielsson Award gives me added motivation and the conditions for continuing to fight uncompromisingly to bring us another step closer to solving the mystery of cancer,” says Volkan Sayin. “A lot of exciting research remains to be done, and in the longer term I would like to start up my own research group to study cancer, with expertise that we currently do not have at the University of Gothenburg.”

In his thesis, Volkan Sayin was able to demonstrate that mice that received antioxidants developed more and larger lung tumors compared with mice that did not receive antioxidants. He also showed that this takes place because the antioxidants neutralize oxygen radicals and thus block what is known as tumor suppressor p53. If p53 were not blocked, it would be able to suppress the growth of the cancer cells. Volkan Sayin has also carried out an in-depth study into the mechanisms that determine how tumor suppressor p53 handles oxygen radicals, and he found a protein that can serve as a target for new anti-cancer medicines. In addition, he has shown that the same mechanism is also significant for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

“Through his research, Volkan Sayin has for the first time brought clarity to these clinical studies. His discoveries have attracted considerable national and international attention,” says Professor Eva Forssell-Aronsson, Executive Member of the Assar Gabrielsson Foundation which every year presents the Assar Gabrielsson Award. “The discoveries will be important for public health in general and for the treatment of cancer patients in particular.”

The presentation ceremony for the Assar Gabrielsson Award will take place in Förmaket (The Atrium) at Sahlgrenska University Hospital on Wednesday May 6, 2015, between 12:15 and 2:00 p.m. The ceremony, which consists of both the award presentation and a presentation of Volkan Sayin’s thesis, is open to the press and the general public.

For more information, please contact:

Urban Wass, Senior Vice President Research & Innovation, Volvo Group, and Chair of the Assar Gabrielsson Foundation
Phone: +46 (0)31-66 44 36

Eva Forssell-Aronsson, Executive Member of the Assar Gabrielsson Foundation
Phone: +46 (0)703-72 26 26

Read more about the Assar Gabrielsson Foundation at


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