In March this year, the EVIDENT trial (ex vivo drug sensitivity in metastatic colorectal cancer) was opened. After years of research in observational studies, we have established a functional oncology pipeline for solid tumors, including a living biobank from metastatic colorectal cancer. This is now a resource for EVIDENT, providing an ex vivo pharmacogenomics reference for prospective treatment nominations in the trial. We establish personal tumor models for each patient, test the models for drug sensitivities and treat the patients accordingly. EVIDENT was one of the first trials included in MATRIX, the Norwegian Centre for Clinical Cancer research.
We have established quality controlled protocols for liquid biopsy analyses of methylated DNA. The monitoring trial of bladder cancer patients has included 450 patients and 4000 urine samples from all major Norwegian hospitals are received and analyzed in lab with the BladMetrix test. Patient inclusion will be completed in 2023.
Our Department includes 30 full-time-employees, students, study nurses and part-time scientists (total staff of 42). The academic personnel published 18 research articles indexed on PubMed in 2022, including 10 with first and/or last authors from the Department. All articles were published in open access journals. The prostate cancer team participated in an international study that identified collision tumors from molecular data on 904 prostate cancer foci (Fontugne et al., JCI Insight). Professors Skotheim and Axcrona published two invited “Words of wisdom” in Eur Urol.
Three innovation projects reached their expected milestones for 2022 (primary inventors): BladMetrix (Lind), ProClass (Skotheim) and Liver metastases subtypes (Sveen).
Six Department members defended their academic degrees at the University of Oslo. MSc Christian Holst Bergsland, Ina Eilertsen and Maren Høland, the Faculty of Medicine, Institute for Clinical Medicine. MSc Jonas Strømme, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Institute for Informatics. Two MSc degrees were defended at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the Department of Biosciences.
Bioinformatics structure and creation of data resources
A new task force group was established across the three groups and four project groups with mandate to create SOPs for all parts of informatics handling of large scale raw data and downstream bioinformatics analyses and to define or adapt protocols and computational needs in the department. Our most used data pipelines are now implemented as workflows for sustainable data analyses. We submit data to open relevant repositories; so far –omics profiles of ~1,000 cancer tissue samples and 50 cancer cell lines have been submitted to the public domain. In 2022, processing and analyzing additional large scale data have been prioritized; methylome data or whole RNA sequence data was created from > 500 solid tumors and pharmacogenomics data have been made for >300 preclinical models.
Honors and support
Associate professor Sveen was invited plenary speaker at the AACR special conference on Colorectal Cancer, Portland, Oregon, USA. Professor Skotheim was in the organizing committee and presented a plenary lecture at the Norwegian Cancer Symposium 2022 – with focus on prostate cancer.
Dr. Kryeziu received “The Researcher of the Year” prize from the Institute for Cancer Research and the Radium Hospital legacy (featured in Dagens Medisin Dec 14th 2022). A research image from his work was selected as cover illustration of BBA Rev Cancer for the calender year 2022.
Dr. Anita Sveen received two major grants from the Norwegian Cancer Society and the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.