Here are the moderators and speakers at this years Cancer Crosslinks: Prof. Sonja Loges, Prof. Mihaela van der Schaar, Dr Leo Rasche, Dr Paolo Tarantino, Dr Raza Ali, Lisa Derosa, Dr Fredrik Schjesvold, Dr Katrin Kleinmanns, Dr Vilde Drageset Haakensen and Dr Marte Grønlie Cameron

Cancer Crosslinks 2024: meet the speakers

10 pictures of peoples faces in black and white

Join us for a day of educational talks and mingling with colleagues in the oncology community.

Cancer Crosslinks 2024 will take place on-site in Kaare Nourum Auditorium at Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park on 25 January 2024, starting at 10:30. You can read more about the programme, and register here.

The event features distinguished speakers from Germany, France, the UK, and the USA, presenting the latest advancements in diagnostic and treatment options for solid and haematological cancers. With a focus on bridging innovations for improved clinical outcomes, the program includes talks by renowned experts, such as Prof. Sonja Loges on targeted therapies, Dr Lisa Derosa on microbiota-centred interventions and cancer immunotherapy, Dr Leo Rasche on tumour heterogeneity in multiple myeloma, Dr Raza Ali on highly multiplexed imaging for precision breast immuno-oncology, Dr Paolo Tarantino on antibody-drug conjugates, and Prof. Mihaela van der Schaar on AI-enabled personalized medicine.

The event also highlights Norwegian moderators, including Dr Vilde Drageset Haakensen, Dr Marte Grønlie Cameron, Dr Fredrik Schjesvold, and Dr Katrin Kleinmanns.

Cancer Crosslinks 2024 title is “Bridging innovations to improve clinical outcomes for cancer patients”. To kick off Cancer Crosslinks 2024, Sonja Loges will speak on this topic in her keynote presentation

Prof. Sonja Loges. Photo: ESMO.

Sonja Loges

Professor, Director, Dept of Personalized Oncology, DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute & Division of Personalized Medical Oncology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Germany. Prof. Loges is at the forefront of transformative research, focusing on targeted therapies and non-invasive liquid biopsies. Her work in translational research bridges the gap between scientific discoveries and clinical applications, offering personalized and cutting-edge approaches for improved cancer outcomes.

Targeted therapies are a type of cancer treatment that specifically targets the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

Liquid biopsies involve analyzing bodily fluids to detect cancer-associated substances like genetic mutations and proteins. Non-invasive tests can be conducted without the need for traditional tissue biopsies.

 

Dr Lisa Derosa

Lisa Derosa

Immuno-Oncologist, Associate Professor, Tumour Immunology and Immunotherapy of Cancer unit, Zitvogel Lab, Institut Gustave Roussy, Paris, France. Her research focuses on the influence of gut microbiota on cancer development and treatment. Dr Derosa introduced how antibiotics can suppress the immune system in cancer immunotherapy and examined the impact of gut microbiota composition on antitumor immunity with immune checkpoint inhibitors. She will give a talk on Microbiota-centered interventions and cancer immunotherapy: recent learnings and clinical implications.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of cancer treatment that helps the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively by releasing T-cells. The gut microbiota’s composition seems to play a role in how well this type of treatment works.

 

Dr Leo Rasche, Photo: Ukw.

Leo Rasche

Senior Physician, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Haematology and Oncology, University Hospital Würzburg, Junior Group Leader, Mildred Scheel Nachwuchszentrum (MSNZ) for Cancer Research Germany. Dr Leo Rasche focuses on researching multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting plasma cells in the bone marrow. His work includes using medical imaging to understand the disease, exploring tumour genomics for genetic insights, studying tumour evolution over time, and developing immunotherapy approaches for treatment. Rasche will give a talk on Tumor heterogeneity in multiple myeloma: clinical consequences? 

Tumour evolution refers to the changes in the genetic and molecular characteristics of cancer cells as the disease progresses. Understanding this evolution is crucial for developing targeted and effective treatments.

 

Dr Raza Ali. Photo: privat.

Raza Ali

Group Leader, Systems Cancer Pathology Lab, Honorary Consultant Pathologist, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. His research group uses imaging mass cytometry to investigate breast cancer’s spatial dynamics, analyzing cell changes during disease progression and treatment. The method identifies adaptations and biomarkers influencing relapse and treatment outcomes. Dr Ali will give a talk on Highly multiplexed imaging for precision breast immuno-oncology.

Imaging mass cytometry is an advanced imaging technique that allows researchers to simultaneously analyse multiple biomarkers and cellular characteristics within tissue samples.

Biomarkers are measurable indicators of disease severity or presence. It can be a substance indicating a particular disease state. For example, the presence of an antibody may indicate an infection.

 

Dr Paolo Tarantino. Photo: Sam Ogden.

Paolo Tarantino

Advanced Research Fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.  Dr. Tarantino’s research focuses on three key areas: HER2 oncoprotein study, delving into its role in certain breast cancers; exploration of HER2-low breast tumour biology; and innovation in novel antibody-drug conjugates, refining precision in chemotherapy delivery for enhanced cancer treatment. He will give a talk called  Antibody-drug conjugates: a pan-histologic revolution in the treatment of cancer.

HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2) is a protein that can promote the growth of cancer cells. Its overexpression is associated with more aggressive forms of breast cancer.

Membrane Tyrosine Kinase: HER2 is a type of protein that sits on the cell membrane (outer layer of the cell) and can activate other proteins inside the cell by adding phosphate to them.

Oncogene: An oncogene is a gene that, when mutated or overactive, can contribute to cancer development. HER2 is an oncogene.

Novel antibody-drug conjugates: (ADCs) refer to a type of targeted cancer therapy that combines the specificity of monoclonal antibodies with the cytotoxic (cell-killing) properties of chemotherapy drugs. This combination is designed to deliver chemotherapy directly to cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

 

 

Prof. Mihaela van der Schaar

Mihaela van der Schaar

John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, AI, and Medicine. Director, Cambridge Center for AI in Medicine, University of Cambridge. In addition to leading the van der Schaar Lab, Prof. Mihaela is the founder and director of the Cambridge Centre for AI in Medicine (CCAIM)UK.

Prof. Mihaela van der Schaar is a pioneer in the field of machine learning for healthcare. Her research is primarily focused on improving methods to forecast individual health risks and identifying crucial factors for accurate risk prediction. Her groundbreaking research findings have led to the development of improved treatment options for patients suffering from heart failure, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Her research has made significant contributions to personalized and targeted healthcare interventions. She will give a talk on AI-enabled personalized medicine.

 

Norwegian moderators

 

Dr Vilde Drageset Haakensen

Vilde Drageset Haakensen

Senior Consultant Oncologist and Head of Lung Cancer Research, Dept of Oncology & Project group leader, Dept of Cancer Genetics, Oslo University Hospital, Norway. She leads projects studying checkpoint inhibitors, radiotherapy combinations, and the telomerase peptide vaccine UV1. Dr Haakensen is also involved in repurposing targeted therapy for lung cancer, specifically ALK-inhibitors for ALK-negative tumours. She secures research grants, collaborates with industrial partners, and contributes to patient advocacy, cancer centre standards, and European cancer initiatives.

ALK inhibitors are a type of medication that specifically targets and blocks the activity of the ALK protein. This helps to inhibit the growth of tumours that have ALK alterations. These inhibitors have been effective in treating certain types of cancer, such as non-small cell lung cancer.

 

Dr Marte Grønli Cameron

Marte Grønlie Cameron

Clinical Oncologist, Palliative Care Unit and Head of Research at the Center for Cancer Treatment, Sørlandet Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway. Dr Marte Cameron is a consultant clinical oncologist at the Center for Cancer Treatment in Kristiansand, Norway.  For the majority of her career, she has worked as a gastro-oncologist, and for the past three years, in the Palliative Care Unit of the cancer center.  Dr Cameron’s clinical practice and research interests now converge on targeting symptoms of advanced cancer, particularly neuropathic pain.

 

Dr Fredrik Schjesvold

Fredrik Schjesvold

Leader of Oslo Myeloma Center, Dept of Haematology, Oslo University Hospital, Norway. Head of the Norwegian Myeloma Association, President of the Nordic Myeloma Study Group, and board member of the European Myeloma Network. Dr Schjesvold is recognized globally as an expert in myeloma and shares his insights through talks across Europe, America, and Asia. His research contributions are extensive, being a principal investigator for academic studies and a national investigator for numerous clinical trials in multiple myeloma. Additionally, he has played a crucial role in guideline development, co-authoring European (ESMO) and global (IMWG) guidelines, and leading the creation of Norwegian myeloma guidelines.

 

Dr Katrin Kleinmanns

Katrin Kleinmanns

Researcher, Precision Oncology Lab (PrecOS), Innovative Novel Ovarian Cancer Treatment Approaches (INOVA) group, University of Bergen, Norway.​ Dr Kleinmanns work within the Innovative Novel Ovarian Cancer Treatment Approaches (INOVA) group centres on developing and characterizing immunocompetent patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of ovarian carcinomas. Her primary objectives include implementing targeted fluorescence image-guided surgery to enhance surgical outcomes and phenotypically characterizing the intricate ovarian tumour microenvironment. Dr Kleinmanns aims to identify new immunological targets for innovative therapeutic interventions in ovarian cancer treatment.

Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models are a preclinical research tool used in cancer research. A PDX model is a type of mouse model that carries fragments of a patient’s tumour. These models are highly valuable because they attempt to replicate the characteristics of the original tumour within a living organism.

 

Afternoon mingle

The educational program includes an afternoon networking session. You are welcome to join us at 4:15 pm outside the auditorium.

Don’t miss this opportunity to make new connections in the oncology community, revisit old acquaintances and engage in stimulating discussions with other health professionals.

Read more about the event on the Cancer Crosslinks website

The post Cancer Crosslinks 2024: meet the speakers first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Jason Paragas, CEO DVLP Medicines, Former Director of Innovation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Ex Officio member of the Blue-Ribbon Panel, held a compelling keynote. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Data power and moonshots

man standing in front of digital presentation talking, wearing a suit and glasses

The Cancer Mission Hub Norway arranged its yearly high-level meeting for the fourth time.

The cancer mission is bold, concrete, and measurable, aiming to change a key challenge in society, namely how we jointly approach cancer. It is about understanding, preventing, diagnosing, treating, and following up cancer patients and their families, and it aims to improve the lives of three million people by 2030.

The goal of the Norwegian Mission Hub, one of the first cancer mission hubs established in Europe, is to work jointly on this societal challenge in effective ways.

man standing in front of digital projected presentation wearing a dark suit and glasses

Ketil Widerberg, the general manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster, opened the high-level meeting on 19 December 2023.  Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

EU’s holistic approach

The first keynote speaker on the programme was Cathrine Marie Lofthus, Secretary General of the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services. She underlined that Norway shares the same cancer challenges as the EU states.

“We commend the holistic approach chosen by the EU,” Lofthus said and underlined how Norway is in line with the EU in the cancer mission.

Her ministry is on the verge of presenting a new national cancer strategy next year, replacing the current strategy called Living with cancer.

“We will pay more attention to the patient’s psychosocial health needs and the need for follow-up in the new cancer strategy.” Cathrine Lofthus.

Genetic testing is also one of the areas with more emphasis in the new strategy.

WOman speaking in front of audience and power point background.

Cathrine Marie Lofthus, Secretary General of the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services, underlined that Norway shares the same cancer challenges as the EU states. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

Harnessing the power of data

The second keynote address was by Mark Lawler, Associate pro-vice-chancellor, professor of digital health, and chair in translational cancer genomics at Queen’s University Belfast. He spoke about the research project European Groundshot: Reimagining cancer research and its implementation across Europe.

“If you will remember only one thing from my speech: Data eats opinion for lunch.” Mark Lawler

The research project European Groundshot looked at the impact of Covid 19 on cancer screenings and diagnosis, investigating the impact of real-time data analysis from Hospital Trust across the UK.

“And we were shocked,” Mark Lawler said to an attentive audience.

One of the findings was that 7 out of 10 people with a suspicion of cancer were neither going to their GP nor a specialist for help.

Another was that the war in Ukraine does have an impact on cancer in Europe since Ukraine and Russia are two big contributors to clinical trials in cancer.

A third point was that health research is very important, and effective, to improve people’s health, and should be seen as an investment in our health.

“Working together does make sense,” said Mark Lawler, and added that comprehensive cancer centers do lead to better cancer care.

Man speaking behind podium, hands held out in a gesture of engagement.

Profesor Mark Lawler presented the research project European Groundshot: Reimagining cancer research and its implementation across Europe. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

Cancer Moonshot 3.0

The third keynote address was a perspective from the US Cancer Moonshot, by Jason Paragas, CEO DVLP Medicines, Former Director of Innovation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Ex Officio member of the Blue-Ribbon Panel.

“In our government, everybody is in favor of coordination, but nobody wants to be coordinated. That is what a moonshot truly is,” Jason Paragas said, continuing with a reference to Albert Einstein’s letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939, and the outcome of this letter, the Manhattan Project.

Read the story of the letter that sparked the atomic bomb on the webpage of the American Museum of Natural History.

“What makes a successful Moonshot: a clear goal that is only possible from collective action.” Jason Paragas

The outcomes from successful moonshot programs can be these, Paragas argued: The US testing weapons on supercomputers instead of in the desert. As a bonus, we have supercomputers evolving from this goal, becoming increasingly faster and more powerful. Another example is the outcome of the single goal of Operation Warp Speed: a functioning vaccine technology against Covid 19.

“And where did we fail with moonshots? I will argue that it is the Cancer Moonshot. It did not have a clear single goal.”

So, what can we do? This is the question to use to frame a moonshot. Jason Paragas lists these questions to spark our imagination:

  • Can we diagnose all cancers by stage 0-1?
  • Can we make 100 % of all cancers targetable?
  • Can we make cancer the 10th leading cause of death?
  • Can we diagnose cancer right 100% of the time?

What is the one goal?

After the keynote addresses, the high-level meeting facilitated three moderated panel discussions. The first was called Global cooperation in cancer with societal impact and was moderated by Ketil Widerberg. His first question was an encouragement to think in the moonshot way: What would be – from your angle, a bold, concrete, and measurable action we should take tomorrow to reach the cancer mission’s objective?

“We need a quick win,” Mark Lawler said, following up with a concrete quick-win goal in cancer that we can collaborate on across borders:

“We can eliminate HPV-cancers, we can do that as a collective in Europe.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Widerberg repeated this first question. Would he get other answers? Here are some of the answers he got:

  • We can start with a work package on health data.
  • Let us cut the time it takes research to become treatment in half.
  • A lesson from technology is that we need a multisided platform. Start with one problem in Norwegian health data, with cancer, and solve other health issues in addition.
seven people sitting on stage in a panel discussion

In the first panel we met: Mari Sundli Tveit, Chief Executive, Research Council of Norway, Cathrine Lofthus, Secretary General, the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Service, Ingrid S. Ross, General Secretary, Norwegian Cancer Society, Ketil Widerberg, General Manager Oslo Cancer Cluster (Moderator), Anabela Isidro, Coordinator ECHoS, AICIB (Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation), Mark Lawler, Associate Pro-vice-chancellor, Professor of digital health, and Chair in translational cancer genomics, Queen’s University Belfast, and Jason Paragas,  CEO DVLP Medicines, Former Director of Innovation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Ex Officio member of the Blue-Ribbon Panel. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

The most important advice

The second panel was a conversation including the Norwegian reflections on the common effort in the cancer mission. Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society, moderated the panel. She asked: What is the most important advice for the mission hub?

“To involve politicians and get commitment from the top is important to succeed with missions. Another advice is to monitor the projects that are set in motion and set interim goals. Also, it is to collaborate with others than the ones you apply for research funding with,” said Espen Solberg, Research Leader at the Norwegian Institute for Research and Education Studies (NIFU).

In the panel from the left: Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross, General Secretary, Norwegian Cancer Society, moderated the panel with Espen Solberg, Research leader, NIFU, Kirsten Viga Skretting, Special Advisor, KS, Oddbjørn Straume, professor and senior physician, Haukeland University Hospital, Knut-Inge Klepp, director Mental and Physical Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Sissi Leyell Espetvedt, Special Advisor, the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

Wanting the same thing

The third panel was a conversation about the engagement of the health industry in a mission-oriented innovation system, and ways of collaboration. Ole Johan Borge, Director of health and public sector at the Research Council of Norway, moderated the panel, and asked the question: What is your strategy to start new initiatives and pave the way towards so-called impossible solutions?

“It is important to want something and then work systematically with this one thing,” said Kjetil Taskén, Director of the Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital.

Taskén won the Innovation Prize of the University of Oslo earlier this year and is the coordinator of a large new EU project called PRIME ROSE.

“And everyone has to want the same thing, it cannot be about single institutions or even single countries,” Taskén added.

four men and one woman staning in front of cairs in a panel discussion wearing suits

In the panel from the left: Ole Johan Borge, Director Health and public sector, the Research Council of Norway, was moderating the panel with Arild Kristensen, CEO at the Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Leif Rune Skymoen, Managing Director the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI), Giske Ursin, Director at the Cancer Registry of Norway, Ketil Taskén, Director of Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital. Photo Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

Read more about our EU Cancer Mission initiatives and the work of the Mission Hub in these articles from our archive:

The post Data power and moonshots first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

OCC member company Hemispherian receives NOK 16 million in funding from Norwegian Research Council. Photo: Hemispherian.

Member companies secure NOK 92 Million

group of four people standing in front of staircase. two women and two men wearing formal bussines clothes

Oslo Cancer Cluster Members secure a staggering NOK 92 Million from the Research Council of Norway.

The Research Council of Norway allocates NOK 494 million to 39 research-based innovation projects in companies across the entire country, marking a significant boost for cancer innovation. Oslo Cancer Cluster celebrates the success of several member companies, who collectively secured a remarkable NOK 92 million of the funds. Our member companies are:

  • Oncosyne
  • DoMore diagnostics
  • Hemispherian
  • AdjuTec Pharma
  • Blue Wave Therapeutics
  • Augere Medical

Kjetil Widerberg, Oslo Cancer Cluster’s General Manager, expresses his excitement, stating

“This fantastic news is a testament to the hard work and risk-taking spirit of individuals in these companies. It validates the quality of our ecosystem, bringing us significant steps closer to improving cancer patients’ lives through the acceleration of new diagnostics and treatments.”

Oslo Cancer Cluster extends recognition to The Research Council of Norway for the acknowledgment of the high quality of these Norwegian cancer companies, some of which are integral to Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC) Incubator.

This funding injection serves as a powerful catalyst, propelling these innovative projects into new realms of possibility and advancing the frontier of cancer research and treatment.

Thrilled and Grateful

Oncosyne, a biotechnology start-up in the OCC Incubator, received a NOK 16 million grant for “clinical feasibility of in vitro diagnostic drug testing for pancreatic cancer.” Cofounder & CTO, Peter W. Eide, shares his gratitude for the Research Council’s support, emphasizing the opportunity to enhance their drug modeling platform and initiate vital clinical studies for pancreatic cancer patients.

man Withith dark hair and gray jacket presenting slides on stage

Peter W. Eide, Co-founder and CTO of Oncosyne. Photo: OCC.

 

DoMore Diagnostics, also an OCC Incubator company, secures NOK 16 million for clinical validation and implementation of the AI-based digital biomarker Histotype Px, to personalize treatment in colorectal cancer. CEO Torbjørn Furuseth shares the excitement of competing with strong applicants and expresses the motivation to accelerate plans.

man smiling in front of gray background wearing dark blue jacket and white shirt

Thorbjørn Furuseth CEO of DoMore Diagnostics. Photo: DoMore.

 

Hemispherian receives a substantial NOK 16 million grant towards “a one-of-a-kind approach to treat Ovarian Cancer.” Hemispherian CEO, Zeno Albisser, expresses immense gratitude for the support,

“We are immensely grateful for this support from the Research Council of Norway. Our team is excited to advance our second asset, GLIX5, towards clinical use. We are dedicated to developing therapies that will make a tangible difference in the lives of those battling cancer.”

man with dark hair standing in front of dark gray wall wearing a greay suit jacket

Hemispherian CEO, Zeno Albisser. Photo: Hemispherian.

 

AdjuTec Pharma, also part of the OCC Incubator, secures NOK 16 million towards the “development of a novel broad-spectrum antibiotic-resistant inhibitor product.” CEO Bjørn Klem acknowledges the award’s significance, serving as both external validation and a catalyst for private capital raising to propel the project into the clinical phase.

man standing in front of white wall wearing dark jacket and glasses

AdjuTec Pharma CEO Bjørn Klem. Photo: OCC/Stig Jarnes.

 

Blue Wave Therapeutics also receives NOK 16 million towards their project ALPHAGLIO: Development of a novel treatment for glioblastoma.

“It feels incredibly good. This is the third time we’ve applied, so now it will be fantastic to finally get started with this project.” says CEO Jostein Dahle

man smiling wearing dark jacket standing in front of white background

Blue Wave Therapeutics CEO Jostein Dahle. Photo: Blue Wave.

 

Augere Medical is thrilled to announce the acceptance of its application for the IPN grant by the Research Council, securing close to NOK 12 million towards the project “ColoCompare: colonoscopy guidance and AI-assisted procedure comparison.”

Augere CEO and Co-founder, Pia Helén Smedsrud, expresses gratitude for the opportunity

“These funds will enable further research into novel technologies that can improve the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. We are thankful for the opportunity and look forward to sharing our progress and technology with the public in the next few years.”

woman standing in fron of white wall

Augere CEO and Co-founder, Pia Helén Smedsrud. Photo: Augere.

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Highlights from Oslo Cancer Cluster in 2023

2023 written in front of circles of pearls in variants of red and orange.OCC/ Dark Arkitekter / Hufton Crow

Here are seven highlights from this eventful year.

2023 has seen the crystallization of several significant developments at Oslo Cancer Cluster. We’ve immersed ourselves in the cancer mission, initiated new endeavors both nationally and across Europe, and welcomed new members into our community.

Growing the Community

Throughout the year, we’ve been delighted to witness growth in both our membership and physical space. Discover more about some of our new members through these articles:

For a sneak peek at the ongoing construction between the Innovation Park and the Institute for Cancer Research, you can visit the live building site webcam on the Innovation Park website.

Connecting Efforts

A new cluster collaboration came to life in 2023. A primary task at Oslo Cancer Cluster is to foster connections within the cancer innovation sphere. Facilitating investment opportunities for emerging companies is a vital part of this process. At the start of the year, we reinforced our collaboration with other health and life science clusters in Norway to achieve this, aiming for increased success among Norwegian companies. This initiative is led by The Life Science Cluster and supported by Viken County for two years.

Read more about the collaboration in this article from February.

Two men and two women looking into the camera wearing dressed up clothes

The leaders of the four health and life science clusters, from the left: Ketil Widerberg, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Hanne Mette Dyrlie Kristensen, The Life Science Cluster, Arild Kristensen, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Lena Nymo Helli, Norway Health Tech. Foto: Jofrid Åsland, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster.

The non-profit company HealthCatalyst brings together Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norway Health Tech, and the Norwegian Smart Care Cluster to enhance testing facilities for health companies. In June, the company forged a new collaboration agreement with NorTrials Medical Equipment, aiming to elevate Norway as a testing ground for health technologies.

Explore the collaboration’s details in this article on our website.

The CONNECT consortium for precision cancer medicine has had a remarkable year. Discover this year’s milestones for the consortium in a separate article on the CONNECT-website. ADD LINK

And here is the animation explainer that CONNECT made to explain personalised medicine (in Norwegian only).

Big and Small Meeting Places

Cancer Crosslinks 2023 centred around the theme “New dimensions to the hallmarks of cancer: How is the last decade of discoveries advancing our understanding of cancer biology and transforming precision medicine.” It served as a day of inspiration, insights, and interactions for professionals from across the cancer field in Norway and beyond.

Read this article about the 2023 Cancer Crosslinks.

Interested in joining Cancer Crosslinks 2024? The theme for next year is “Bridging innovations to improve clinical outcomes for cancer patients.” Registration is open!

Throughout the year, we’ve organized smaller gatherings for our members and community, such as the Summer gathering and the December gathering. These meetings occur every June and December, and we hope to see you there next year!

Our incubator has also facilitated smaller meetings between start-ups and potential investors. During one such occasion in the summer, US healthcare and life science investors visited. Read about their interaction in this article.

Finally, we were present at the large venues too. One of these was the Nordic Life Science Days in Copenhagen, where Oslo Cancer Cluster coordinated the joint booth Norway for Life Science, promoting the Norwegian healthcare and life science industry.  This is the article and this is part of our team in front of the Norwegian booth:

5 people smiling in front of a poster.

The Oslo Cancer Cluster team representing and networking in Copenhagen. From Left: Charlotte Homme, Dave Tippett, Thomas Andersson, Janne Nestvold and Bente Prestegård.

Our Take on the Cancer Mission

This year, we’ve raised the question, “How can Norway succeed with the EU’s Mission on Cancer?” loudly and clearly. Explore discussions and insights from two seminars in the meeting series “The Future of Cancer Treatments” held during 2023. The seminars are also available on our YouTube channel.

Find more about the meeting series on our project page.

Three men and one woman are in a discussion on a stage, sitting, one of which is Camilla Stoltenberg, who is engaged with her arm in a gesture. The other people are Espen Solberg (NIFU), Leif Rune Skymoen (LMI) and Ole Alexander Opdalshei (Norwegian Cancer Society).

Espen Solberg (NIFU), Camilla Stoltenberg (FHI), Leif Rune Skymoen (LMI) and Ole Alexander Opdalshei (Norwegian Cancer Society) discuss how to perform the Cancer Mission in Norway.

The Cancer Mission Hub Norway is another crucial arena for the same topic. Oslo Cancer Cluster proudly collaborates within this hub. In May 2023, we commenced work with 56 other organizations spanning 28 countries in the EU project called ECHoS. It received a 6-million-euro grant from The European Union. Read about our plans through this consortium in these two articles:

Health Industry Milestones in Norway

Oslo Cancer Cluster continued to act as a Changemaker in 2023. In the cluster strategy for 2023-25, this is one of our three roles, aiming to improve the framework for cancer innovations in the Norwegian health industry. This involves contributing input to relevant national policies and addressing specific challenges. Discover more on our webpage or read our input to the State budget proposal. Additionally, watch our participation in the parliamentary health committee hearing on our YouTube-channel. Note that most of the content is in Norwegian.

In late summer, the government published its roadmap for the health industry, focusing on commercializing research and developing health as a green export success. Read more in this article.

Young Talents

Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster have a mutually rewarding school collaboration. In 2023, numerous engaging activities took place with students, their mentors, student research projects, and student work placements.

Explore the students’ activities on the school collaboration homepage (all news in Norwegian) and contact us if you have questions about the collaboration. You can find our emails on the team page.

Woman laughing in an office, paper in hand, in front of a black screen.

Bente Prestegård is project manager for the school collaboration with Ullern Upper Secondary. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

Projects Coming Together

Throughout the year, we’ve closely followed the AnteNor-project, learning extensively about polygenic risk scores (PRS) and their significance in future cancer prevention and early detection.

Discover more about the AnteNor-project in these articles:

5 people sitting on stools in fromt of a white screen, being part of apanel for discussion.

The panel discussion about implementing PRS tests included (from left to right): Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder of Antegenes, Solveig Hofvind, Head of the Mammography Programme at the Cancer Registry of Norway, Ole Alexander Opdalshei, Deputy Secretary General at the Norwegian Cancer Society, Lovise Olaug Mæhle, senior consultant at the Department of Medical Genetics at Oslo University Hospital and Ketil Widerberg, general manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster, as moderator.

Exploring the improvement possibilities in manufacturing T-cell therapies was the focal point at a workshop organized by the CellFIT project in Trondheim in October. The seminar convened project partners and experts to address a significant challenge for cell-based cancer therapy – the need for efficient and scalable production. Discover more about their discussions in this article.

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