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A leading Norwegian oncology arena

Cancer Crosslinks 2023 was a day of inspiration, insights, and interactions for professionals from across the cancer field in Norway and beyond.

The 15th Cancer Crosslinks was held in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park on 26 January 2023, gathering the oncology community for a day of engaging talks from renowned international and Norwegian experts. The event, arranged by Oslo Cancer Cluster and supported by Bristol Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly and Company, was attended by more than 300 people on-site, including oncologists, hematologists, researchers, industry representatives, health authority officials, and more. More than 250 people followed digitally from across Norway.

“The common theme throughout the conference was The Hallmarks of Cancer, referring to Douglas Hanahan’s and Robert Weinberg’s seminal publications from 2000, 2011 and 2022.”

The common theme throughout the conference was The Hallmarks of Cancer, referring to Douglas Hanahan’s and Robert Weinberg’s seminal publications from 2000, 2011 and 2022. Despite the impressive progress there are still unmet needs in many cancer types and for countless patients.

“We were honored that Douglas Hanahan gave the opening keynote and perfectly set the scene for this year’s programme. The Hallmarks of Cancer have been an inspiration for Cancer Crosslinks since the first meeting in 2009. Since then, the understanding of cancer biology has tremendously increased and novel, effective treatments have been developed. Despite the impressive progress there are still unmet needs in many cancer types and for countless patients. We hope that Cancer Crosslinks again stimulates new ideas, debates, translational research and collaboration,” said Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs at the Oslo Cancer Cluster and Program Lead for Cancer Crosslinks.

 

The organizers, sponsors, speakers and moderators of Cancer Crosslinks 2023. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

 

Inspiring insights

The programme included presentations from a group of passionate clinicians and scientists, who shared their recent research and shed light on different “hallmarks”. They also discussed how to translate these into novel treatment concepts for solid and haematological tumors. One of the speakers at the conference, Jakob Kather, Professor of Clinical Artificial Intelligence, Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health, Technical University Dresden; Germany, said: “I find it really striking that you [the organizers] manage to identify the topics of tomorrow early on. I think the history of Cancer Crosslinks shows you have anticipated the future trends a couple of years before others.”

Cancer Crosslinks 2023 covered a variety of themes spanning from lung cancer evolution, epigenetics, and tumor metabolism to cell therapy, precision medicine and artificial intelligence biomarkers.

Another speaker, Tom Erkers, Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, commented: “This conference is great because it has a broad scope and it includes the whole life science community, including students, researchers, clinicians, and pharmaceutical companies. It presents a great opportunity to share research, speak with collaborators, and develop new ideas.”

 

Tom Erkers, Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

 

Discussing ideas and concepts

For Norwegian researchers, Cancer Crosslinks has become an arena where they gain first-hand knowledge of developments in the cancer field globally, talk with international experts face-to-face and advance their own research in collaboration with colleagues. One of the moderators Eli Sihn Samdal Steinskog, Consultant Oncologist, Department of Oncology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway said: “This is an exciting opportunity to hear from people who are at the frontlines of their fields about the latest research developments. The conference is also a great arena for networking and potential collaboration.”

“This gives one new perspectives on what to do in one’s own research and a possibility to establish new collaborations.”

Her co-moderator Katarina Puco, Senior Consultant Oncologist at Oslo University Hospital, Institute of Cancer research & Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital, Oslo, added: “Cancer Crosslinks offers a unique chance to hear still (or yet) unpublished data and talk directly to the speakers. This gives one new perspectives on what to do in one’s own research and a possibility to establish new collaborations.”

The milieu in Trondheim was also represented by May-Britt Tessem, Associate Professor/Research Scientist, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, who contributed as moderator: “It is fantastic that Cancer Crosslinks gathers so many researchers and clinicians from across Norway and within various cancer fields. I think it is smart to meet in this way and have an arena to meet, but also experience excellent international speakers.”

 

Cancer Crosslinks 2023. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

 

Stimulating new collaborations

An important feature of Cancer Crosslinks is the lively networking, which aims to promote new collaborations and knowledge exchange between all participants. Aslan Tasdogan, Associate Professor, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Institute for Tumor Metabolism, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Essen, Germany, commented: “Cancer Crosslinks was one of the best conferences in recent years. I have made a lot of new connections with excellent scientists. I look forward to continuing to exchange ideas with my Norwegian colleagues.”

“It is not only our ability to share data between scientists and clinicians, and our ability to think about concepts in oncology and how that might impact how we treat our patients, but also the ability to do good research across countries.”

 

Alpaslan (Aslan) Tasdogan, Associate Professor, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Institute for Tumor Metabolism, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Essen, Germany. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

 

Another speaker, Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, Group Leader, Cancer Metastasis Lab, CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, UCL Cancer Institute; Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Translational Lung Oncology, UCL Hospital, London, UK, said: “It has been wonderful to meet Norwegian oncologists and clinicians with great interest in academic research and basic biology. I have already established ideas with new collaborators, so I feel very positive about what we take away from this meeting. It is not only our ability to share data between scientists and clinicians, and our ability to think about concepts in oncology and how that might impact how we treat our patients, but also the ability to do good research across countries.”

 

Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, Group Leader, Cancer Metastasis Lab, CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, UCL Cancer Institute; Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Translational Lung Oncology, UCL Hospital, London, UK. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

 

A special addition to Cancer Crosslinks 2023 was the afternoon networking session, which included a musical performance, an unveiling of building plans for Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and mingling into the evening.

“My impression is that the Norwegian cancer research environment is very innovative and that it is successful at integrating the scientific methods with new technological approaches. It is a great place to think about the cancer diagnostics and treatments of the future – and to make them a reality.”

Prof. Kather further commented: “I am very impressed by the conference, the active participation of the community, the line-up of speakers and the lively discussions between the speakers and the audience. My impression is that the Norwegian cancer research environment is very innovative and that it is successful at integrating the scientific methods with new technological approaches. It is a great place to think about the cancer diagnostics and treatments of the future – and to make them a reality.”

 

Jakob Kather, Professor of Clinical Artificial Intelligence, Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health, Technical University Dresden; Germany. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

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