Neurosurgery / Neurology
Inflammation / Vaccine
Sepsis / Women´s Hospital
Research Nurses / Cancer Center
Heart and Lung Center / Burn Center / Abdominal Center
Biobank / HUSLAB
Artificial Intelligence
Health Science Research / HUS Testbed
Innovation Pathways / Clinical Research Institute HUS
HUS / University of Helsinki



Clinical Research Conducted at HUS Is among the World’s Best, as Seen in Patient Care and Hospital Operations

The Academic Medical Center Helsinki (AMCH) brings top research, teaching, and medical care together every day. The core of AMCH’s work is close cooperation between the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and the University of Helsinki. Most of HUS’s over 2000 doctors and a growing amount of other health and social care professionals are active in clinical research. HUS and the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Helsinki have about 80 professors and 80 lecturers with joint employment. AMCH produces more than 2000 scientific publications each year. Information obtained from these studies is quickly adopted to support patient care and decision making, and it also helps improve hospital operations based on evidence. Active research attracts companies and researchers and so creates new types of opportunities for the development of healthcare.


From a Potentially Fatal Ballooning of a Cerebral Artery to a Valuable Research Sample

Approximately 300 people die annually in Finland from a ruptured brain aneurysm, or a bulge in a cerebral artery. Smoking and untreated hypertension are the leading risk factors for the development and ruptures of intracranial aneurysms, but it is not yet fully understood what causes the walls of the arteries to weaken and eventually rupture. Together with his team of researchers, Professor of Neurosurgery Mika Niemelä is investigating this mystery by examining inflammatory changes and cells in the walls of aneurysms. The team also collects aneurysm tissue samples isolated from blood circulation to be saved in a biobank for research purposes.

Research Conducted at Neurocenter Advances Diagnostics and Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is studied from different perspectives ranging from basic research on the mechanisms of onset to innovative and demanding therapeutic trials. The team led by Eero Pekkonen and Filip Scheperjans was also amongst the first to use and study new treatment methods for Parkinson’s disease, including directional deep brain stimulation. A team of researchers led by Filip Scheperjans is investigating the safety and efficacy of the CDNF growth factor molecule in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease at the Neurocenter. The molecule was discovered by a research team led by Mart Saarma at the University of Helsinki. The medicine is administered using a dosing device implanted into the brain in a surgery that requires accurate brain imaging at the planning stage. As such, the EU-funded research project is carried out in close cooperation between the Neurosurgery Clinic, HUS Medical Imaging Center, and the top experts representing the manufacturers of the medicine and the dosing device. In brain surgeries, the neurosurgical team led by Riku Kivisaari is assisted by a surgical robot and the research project marks the first time when a surgical robot is used in brain surgery in Finland.


Inflammation Center – Home of Top-Notch Research in Various Specialties

Researchers of the HUS Inflammation Center conduct influential research across a wide spectrum of topics in the fields of skin and allergic diseases, infectious diseases, and rheumatology.

Using genetic data, a team working on skin diseases gained new and important information about diseases by investigating the mutations of filaggrin gene in atopic eczema. Based on data of 500 patients with atopic eczema and controls, the research showed that the mutation of the filaggrin gene does not occur as often as previously described in European publications, and that the mutation is not associated with the severity of the disease or response to treatment.

The Inflammation Center has also been involved in the development of fecal microbiota transplantation. Long-term monitoring has showed that treating Clostridium difficile infection with fecal microbiota transplantation is a safe procedure.

Finnish Tourists Are Testing a Vaccine against Diarrhea

HUS and the University of Helsinki are studying the efficacy of ETVAX, an orally administered vaccine, on healthy Finnish adults in Benin in West Africa. The unique field trial is expected to continue at least until the end of 2018. Diarrhea caused by ETEC is a common cause of deaths resulting from diarrhea in developing countries and one of the most common causes of traveler's diarrhea. A separate laboratory has been built next to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center and one of the project partners. Recruitment of trial subjects is in full swing, and at some stage, the trial will progress to cover vaccines administered to children in developing countries.


More Accurate Sepsis Prediction in Small Premature Babies

Together with Aalto University, HUS has been looking into algorithms that can predict sepsis using the enormous amount of data saved in an electronic system. The system contains data about over 2000 small premature babies born 1999–2013, including laboratory test results, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation levels, and nurses’ recordings.

In spring 2017, the data and algorithms were put to a test using the IBM Watson computer system. The AI succeeded in predicting sepsis 24 hours before it would haven been detected in a blood test ordered by a physician. As it stands, AI will be used in the NICU routinely to predict sepsis starting in 2019.

Pediatric Research Center

The success of the Pediatric Research Center (PRC) is based on a large and unselected coverage of population of two million in southern Finland, including all severely ill children, as well as many diagnostic entities in the whole country. Pediatric research in Finland is supported by a system that combines complex diagnostic protocols, the identification and treatment of rare diseases, and a tradition of long-term follow-up throughout childhood by the same pediatric team. These factors has resulted in significant discoveries in nursing science, stem cell research and neurophysiology, as well as in various pediatric subspecialties.

Artificial Intelligence Helps People Make Healthier Choices Online

The Women’s Hospital is developing a mobile application that expecting mothers with gestational diabetes can use to learn how their eating and exercise habits affect their blood sugar levels. Artificial intelligence processes and combines continuously measured data about blood sugar levels with diet and exercise data logged by an expecting mother.

The finished mobile application will visualize the situation on one screen immediately, guide the users to make the right lifestyle choices, and alert them if necessary. Digitally collected data is saved in a cloud-based service where it can be accessed via an application to support patient self-care and the HUS data pool for use as research data accessible to researchers of several different fields.


Participation in Research Nurse Training Is a Major Investment for HUS and a Contribution to Science

The course is four ECTS credits and participants do their coursework alongside their day jobs. The course includes independent study, four days of contact teaching, and taking the Good Clinical Practice online test. Majority of research nurses work regular hours on wards and leave their roles for fixed periods at a time to work on their research. Research nurses are in charge of practical matters related to the trial, leaving more time for the researchers to focus on the trial itself.

The trained research nurses will be invited to join a new research nursing network which has been established to facilitate communication between research nurses, sharing of expertise, and organizing training such as systematic continuing training. HUS sees that having a strong research nursing network alongside other research support services offers HUS an advantage when competing for new recruits who are skilled and motivated to develop their expertise.

Among World Leaders in Cancer Research

The HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center, the largest cancer research center in Finland, was awarded the highest possible Comprehensive Cancer Center status by OECI (European Organisation of Cancer Institutes) in 2014. In line with the requirements of the CCC status, the HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center offers cancer patients rapid access to high-quality and multidisciplinary care with focus on new treatments made possible by scientific research projects.

Early clinical trial unit of the Comprehensive Cancer Center investigates the efficacy and safety of drugs in development and aims to identify the patients that benefit the most from investigational medicinal products together with pharmaceutical companies.

Boron neutron capture therapy, or BNCT, a new radiotherapeutic research modality being built in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, works differently from traditional radiotherapeutic modalities by targeting individual cells.

Established in 2018, FICAN South, or the Southern Cancer Center, develops and harmonizes cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and rehabilitation practices and cancer research in Southern Finland.


Top-Quality Treatment and Research Side by Side

Each year, the title of Professor is awarded to several academics on the Meilahti campus. Among those is Juha Sinisalo, who was appointed to a professorship in cardiology in 2017 and who studies, among other topics, coronary artery disease. Together with his team of researchers, Sinisalo, who works as the Chief Physician of HUS Heart and Lung Center, investigates the role of genetics in the development of inflammation in coronary arteries, among other aspects. In the future, physicians might be able to use a gene test to see if their patient is susceptible to blockages in coronary arteries.

In addition to his professorship, Sinisalo is also the Chief Physician of the Congenital Heart Diseases Clinic in Meilahti. The clinic treats adult patients who have been born with heart defects that require surgery. Many of the clinic’s patients are monitored throughout their lives to make sure they do not develop further complications. Sinisalo says that he spends a couple of days a week on teaching and research. After this, he continues his working day as a researcher.

Research Shows that Amount of Burns Has Halved in 30 Years

An article about the amount of hospitalized burn victims published by HUS in January 2018 gained wide media attention in Finland. The study, which was carried out at HUS, looked into changes in the hospital treatment of burn victims in Finland. The research team based their results on data on 36,305 burn patients stored in the Hospital Discharge Register between 1980 and 2010. The study’s key finding is that improvements in fire safety have halved the number of severe burns between 1980 and 2010. Men were overrepresented in the statistics throughout the 30-year timeframe with one-year-old boys at the highest risk of sustaining burns.

“Centralizing the treatment of burn victims and training multidisciplinary teams for burn centers have played an important role,” Jyrki Vuola, the Chief Physician of HUS Burn Center, a part of the HUS Department of Musculoskeletal and Plastic Surgery, says.

Clinical Research Is a Productive Part of Operations of HUS Abdominal Center

The HUS Abdominal Center is an active research community and the research done by its clinical researchers has yielded results that have changed the evidence-based diagnostics, treatment, and monitoring of several diseases – in some cases all over the world. Scientific studies which have gained a lot of attention recently and which have been done at the Abdominal Center or involve the Center’s researchers concern topics such as treatment of diverticulitis, the development of inflamed pockets in the walls of the large intestine, without antibiotics, more accurate diagnostics of prostate cancer using magnetic resonance imaging, and the classification of diabetes into five rather than two subtypes. Staff members of the Abdominal Center conduct long-term university-level research also on diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) which is difficult to monitor and which is mainly treated at the HUS Gastroenterology Clinic in Finland.


Helsinki Biobank Aims High


“Biobank activities enjoy concrete and strong support by Finns, which was clearly visible also at the SuomiAreena event,” PhD Kimmo Pitkänen, the Director of Helsinki Biobank, says.

The Helsinki Biobank operates in a large area and coordinates collection of samples for the multinational FinnGen study, which utilizes the data and expertise of all Finnish biobanks. Helsinki Biobank is set to provide 110,000 – a fifth of all samples – new samples for FinnGen. Coordination and planning of the project is overseen by a team of researchers from the University of Helsinki and HUS led by professor Aarno Palotie.

HUS Is among Global Leaders in Pharmacogenetics

Finland is one of the global pioneers in genomic medicine, or the use all genetic data of humans in medicine, and health technology at the moment. This offers an excellent environment for new fields and innovations in pharmacogenetic research and the development of more personalized pharmacotherapies. A concrete example of this is the pioneering research project led by Mikko Niemi, Professor of Pharmacogenetics at the University of Helsinki and the Chief Physician of HUSLAB, and his research group.

The goal of the currently ongoing research project is to develop a model that can be used to select the best cholesterol-lowering drug (statin) for a patient based on their individual genetic makeup and other personal characteristics. Development of the model is well underway and in the future, the same principle can be applied to other pharmacotherapies. Moreover, HUS as well as the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Biobank have in-depth knowledge and experience of other types of clinical trials. As such, Mikko Niemi hopes that these organizations could be involved in the operations of the national drug development center to be established in Finland.


Technology to Revolutionize Healthcare Services

Digital and AI-based solutions are being implemented in healthcare at an increasing rate. AI is already used at HUS to improve the diagnostics of diseases, treatment planning, and risk management. There are around 15 AI projects in progress. One joint CleverHealth Network project studies the use of AI in the diagnostics of intracranial hemorrhage. Meanwhile a Finland-wide online service for specialized healthcare is being developed on the Terveyskylä.fi portal, the home to the Weight Management House, a digital innovation that allows healthcare professionals to help a larger number of patients than in the pre-digital times.


New applications, such as artificial intelligence and online health portals, are being implemented based on research data. The Terveyskylä.fi portal was preceded by Mental Health Hub, an online therapy service developed by HUS which has even been featured in the Guardian ( Published in 2017, the article presents the preliminary results of the research on online health services: “Research shows that over a three month period, patients’ depression levels reduced by 10 points.” In addition to grants, HUS promotes research on online health services and applications by offering networking opportunities, such as a countrywide forum for research on online health services and applications built by HUS Medical Director and Psychiatrist Grigori Joffe.


Health Science Research Is Steadily Gaining Popularity

The hospitals of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa provide care for approximately 500,000 patients each year, and every tenth nurse in Finland works at HUS – on top of the other nursing staff members. As such, HUS is an excellent environment for conducting research in health sciences and applying the information gained from research to everyday care of patients. This possibility is also actively utilized at HUS.

“The objective of health science research conducted at HUS is to promote evidence-based care and improve services and service structures with the emphasis on doing what is best for the patients.”

Dissertation Research Has Offered a New Perspective on Hospital Work

MSc in Health Sciences Terhi Lemetti thanks HUS for its positive and supportive attitude to health science research and for giving her the opportunity to work as a full-time doctoral student at HUS for a total of 12 months in 2018 and 2019.

“Research has given us a great deal of new knowledge and offered a brand new perspective on things. I feel that the knowledge gained from my research and conducting research have become part of my job and that for example seeking and using evidence-based information has increased. Enthusiasm for nursing and health science research is increasing all the time.”

HUS Testbed enables device testing in an authentic hospital environment

HUS Testbed offers device and service usability testing in a real user environment for multinational, large, SME and startup companies in collaboration with the staff in HUS. The service offers testing not only in an operating room, but the service is also integrated into the whole hospital and connects companies with world-class healthcare experts in HUS. Information can be collected from evidence-based practice to improve product and service development. HUS Testbed also enables education, survey, and research collaboration with an aim to create mutual benefits that can be reached by developing customer-centric services where the patient always comes first.

Various pathways of developing and innovation


Health Capital Helsinki (HCH) is an alliance between HUS, the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and the City of Helsinki. HCH was set up to develop Finland and the Helsinki region into the best Northern European hub for life science and health-related innovations and business development.

Biodesign Finland – Innovating Medical Technologies in Interdisciplinary Teams

Biodesign Finland is an innovation programme originally developed at Stanford University. It aims at innovating medical technology in interdisciplinary teams of medical doctors, engineers, business experts, and designers. During the Biodesign innovation process, the teams spend time in a clinic, making observation of needs that have been addressed un-optimally.

SPARK Finland

Founded at Stanford University, the SPARK program offers researchers, students and clinics structured support for developing ideas into valuable and significant solutions in a swift and controlled manner.

CleverHealth Network

Coordinated by HUS and funded by Business Finland, The CleverHealth Network is an ecosystem that brings together companies and leading healthcare experts to develop better healthcare solutions for Finland and successful health technology products for companies to export through the use of health data.

HUS Virtual Reality Laboratory

Located at the Terkko Health Hub, the HUS Virtual Reality Laboratory is space open to public showcasing virtual and augmented reality solutions aimed at healthcare use.


Findery events bring together healthcare startups and special healthcare service providers.

Clinical Research Institute Helsinki University Hospital Ltd. Makes Research Activities More Agile

Owned by HUS, the Clinical Research Institute Helsinki University  Hospital Ltd. (HYKS-instituutti) is an efficient and fast-paced organization that produces and develops management services for medical and health sciences research. The company’s research services cover areas such as monitoring, keeping track of the progress of studies, and research contract services. The financial administration team, on the other hand, oversees financial matters from invoicing to salary payments and bookkeeping. The company’s core idea is to offer all research services under one roof.

Clinical Research Institute HUS has been a flexible and adaptable service provider for over 25 years – and it aims to continue on this path also in the future.

Clinical Research Institute HUS

  • is a company that sells research services provided by HUS
  • offers researchers clear and consistent research processes
  • provides one-stop-shop services

HUS is Finland’s largest provider of health care services and second largest employer. Our expertise is highly ranked internationally. We produce services for the more than 1.6 million residents of our 24 member municipalities and have nationwide responsibility in certain areas of specialist medical care. Every year, half a million patients are treated at the 22 HUS hospitals. HUS's annual turnover is about EUR 2 billion, and we employ about 22,700 professionals.

HUS is a non-smoking organisation.

The University of Helsinki is an innovative centre of science and thinking and one of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world. Since 1640 our university has contributed significantly to the Finnish prosperity and national identity. Today, the University of Helsinki is doing pioneering multidisciplinary research with 11 faculties and 40,000 students and researchers. The university operates on four campuses and 17 separate units across Finland.