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Individualized cancer treatment

The new Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO) at the University of Bergen will conduct in-depth studies of the microenvironment of cancerous tumours, hunting for biomarkers to aid physicians in selecting the best targeted treatment.

One of the CCBIO centre’s strengths is that its activities encompass the entire value chain from basic to applied research. Research activities will enhance biological understanding of interactions within the tumour microenvironment, find new biomarkers and translate them to clinical implementation. The ultimate goal is to identify the right patients and provide individualised treatment.

Research on medical ethics and health economics is also an integral part of CCBIO activities. Several projects will focus on identifying the mechanisms that determine priorities in current cancer treatment.

Dr Akslen is himself a researcher at the Gade Institute in Bergen, a pathology-oriented institute which has been storing tissue samples from thousands of cancerous tumours since 1912. The CCBIO will identify new biomarkers using the abundance of information obtainable from these samples and other biological material in more recently established biobanks, and from patient histories and health registry data. The centre collaborates with a number of international partners positioned at the forefront of this research field.

The CCBIO has already patented and licensed three new biomarkers, one of them for the US market. The first new diagnostic markers are planned to be used clinically within 3–5 years, and a new clinical study will be initiated within three years.