Reliable diagnostics is vital for high-quality cancer treatment. Both available and novel therapies can be strengthened using robust biomarkers which is the ambition for precision medicine, to tailor treatment to the molecular portrait of a patient’s tumor. The molecular precision medicine in breast cancer project group aim to develop diagnostic tools using molecular data, with emphasis on expression of proteins, to predict which patients could benefit from specific treatments.
Through analysis of multiple proteins from the patients tumor combined with clinical response to specific treatments, we use machine learning algorithms to develop “molecular signatures”. In parallel we are working on translating our results into clinical practice by implementation of new methods and technological platforms. Recently, from the NeoAva clinical trial we have developed a protein signature score (ViRP) capable of predicting which breast cancer patients have good response to anti-angiogenic treatment (bevacizumab) in combination with chemotherapy (Haugen et al. JCO Precision Oncology, 2021). We are now following up and validating these results in a new prospective clinical trial (NAPEER+). From another recently finished clinical trial, IBCT-1, we are continuing similar approaches to develop a molecular signature predicting benefit from additional DNA targeted chemotherapy (carboplatin) in breast cancer patients with an aggressive phenotype (the PROPHECY project). Our long-term goal is to establish individual modules of molecular signatures specialized for selected therapies in which each module independently can be added or optimized within diagnostic pipelines.
The progress of these projects are building on multidisciplinary teamwork, and is conducted in close collaboration with breast cancer oncologist Ass. Prof. Olav Engebråten (PI in all clinical studies), molecular biologist Prof. Gunhild M. Mælandsmo and biostatistician Prof. Ole-Christian Lingjærde.
We appreciate the generous financial support from Helse Sør-Øst (project and innovation support), The Norwegian Cancer Society, The U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation, and the National Network for Breast Cancer Research.
Students who want to pursue their MSc-degree, Forskerlinje or Prosjektoppgave (MD) in our group are always welcome to contact us.