Founding partners

University of Helsinki and HUS Helsinki University Hospital are the founding partners of iCAN and provide public funding in addition to the Research Council of Finland. iCAN is governed by a Steering Group including a patient representative. Also private partners joining the iCAN Flagship Project consortium participate in its governance in the Extended Steering Board. iCAN is expanding nationally within the Finnish National Cancer Center FICAN anticipated to involve a National Steering Board.

Responsibility of execution is on the Executive Committee and the Scientific Director, Executive Officer, and Data Team Lead as well as subprojects PIs. We also have an international Scientific and Impact Advisory Board and a Patient and Citizen Advisory Board that provide valuable guidance and


Steering Board

Chair: Vice Rector for Research Anne Portaankorva, University of Helsinki

Vice Chair: Chief Medical Officer Markku Mäkijärvi, HUS Helsinki University Hospital


  • Director Jari Koistinaho, HiLIFE, University of Helsinki
  • Director of Research Taneli Raivio, HUS Helsinki University Hospital
  • Executive Director Anu Niemi, Europa Donna Finland

Additional Members in Extended Steering Board:
Aleksei Salnikov, Boehringer-Ingelheim

Executive Committee

Satu Mustjoki, Scientific Director
Tomi Mäkelä, Executive Officer
Esa Pitkänen, Data Theme Lead
Anniina Färkkilä, Translational Theme Lead
Sirpa Leppä, Trial Theme Lead
Vincenzo Cerullo
Tuomas Mirtti
Lauri Aaltonen
Toni Seppälä
Sakari Vanharanta
Caroline Heckman

Scientific and Impact Advisory Board

Jonathan Knowles (Chair)

  • Chairman of the Access Committee
  • Genomics England Visiting Professor
  • University of Oxford

Bettina Ryll

  • Melanoma Patient Network Europe
  • Chair of the ESMO Patient Advocates
  • Working Group, Uppsala Sweden

Francesca Buffa

  • Professor of Computational Biology and Cancer Genomics
  • University of Oxford

Steven Myint

  • Physician, Business Mentor & Investor, Senior Fellow, A*STAR
  • Board Member on several startups, Chairman, Liquid Biopsy Committee, A*STAR

Pasi Jänne

  • Director, Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology
  • Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Scientific Director, Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute

René Medema

  • Director of Research
  • Professor
  • Netherlands Cancer Institute & Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital

Karin de Visser

  • Group Leader, Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • Professor of Tumor Immunology, Leiden University
Patient and Citizen Advisory Board

Patient and Citizen Advisory Board

Our Patient and Citizen Advisory Board (PCAB), also known as Potilas- ja kansalaisvaikuttamisen neuvottelukunta (POTKU) in Finnish, is an essential part of iCAN’s commitment to provide benefits for patients. The board provides a platform for patients and researchers to exchange perspectives and priorities, fostering open dialogue and two-way interaction.

Comprised of ten members based in different regions of Finland, the PCAB serves as a crucial link between the broader public, citizens, cancer patients, patient organization, and iCAN researchers. By representing several cancer patient organizations, they bring a diversity of perspectives and experiences to our work.

PCAB members

  • Matti Santalahti, PCAB chair
  • Ida Busk
  • Thomas Hackman
  • Jenni Helminen
  • Kristiina Huff
  • Tuuli Jokivartio-Toivonen
  • Minna Malmstedt
  • Riikka-Leena Manninen
  • Tuula Nikkilä
  • Katja Tähkä
  • Aimo Strömberg
  • Anna-Liisa Valkama

Learn more about the iCAN team and our exciting work in precision cancer medicine.