News archive

Photodynamic Therapy Group acknowledged by the Norwegian Medical Association

Prize winners: From the left: Kari Milch Agledahl, Pål Molander, Eidi Christensen, Norwegian PTD Group and Tor Severinsen on behalf of Bjørnar Nyen. (Photo: The Norwegian Medical Association)

(24.05.2012) The Norwegian Photodynamic Therapy Group has received the Norwegian Medical Association's Quality Prize for Specialist Health Service for its recommendations on the use of local photodynamic therapy in the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Photodynamic Therapy Group acknowledged by the Norwegian Medical Association

Prize winners: From the left: Kari Milch Agledahl, Pål Molander, Eidi Christensen, Norwegian PTD Group and Tor Severinsen on behalf of Bjørnar Nyen. (Photo: The Norwegian Medical Association)

(24.05.2012) The Norwegian Photodynamic Therapy Group has received the Norwegian Medical Association's Quality Prize for Specialist Health Service for its recommendations on the use of local photodynamic therapy in the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in Norway, and the number of cases is still increasing. Norway has pioneered the development of local photodynamic therapy, which has been an approved treatment form for non-melanoma skin cancer in the country since 2003.

Local photodynamic therapy is a multi-step treatment, which includes several practical procedures. The procedures have been practiced differently, and some appear not to achieve adequate effect. It was therefore necessary to go through and systematize routines to optimize treatment.

The research, which was carried out in the period 2007-2010, has resulted in practical recommendations, and helps give patients good and relevant information ahead of treatment. Special emphasis has been given to specific measures to reduce pain during treatment.

Consultant Eide Christensen received the prize on behalf of the group at the Medical Association's board meeting this week.

The group's work is presented in the article "Guidelines for Practical Use of MAL-PDT in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer". Christensen is Lead Author and Professor Cato Mørk is Senior Author. Both belong to the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, NTNU.

Contributing authors are: Trond Warloe, Susanne Kroon, Jüren Funk, Per Helsing, Ana M Soler, Henning Stang, and Øystein Vatne. The article has been published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

The group's recommendations have been presented at meetings and congresses, and have been recognized internationally.

Updated Fri, 25 May 2012 10:20:15 +0200

IKM researchers profiled in International Innovation

(29.05.2012) Research at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), NTNU, has been profiled in the May-edition of International Innovation – Healthcare.

IKM researchers profiled in International Innovation

(29.05.2012) Research at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), NTNU, has been profiled in the May-edition of International Innovation – Healthcare.

Head of Department Magne Børset gives an overview over IKM and highlights the use of core facilities as an important contribution to the research in the department. He also draws attention to palliative care and genome-sequencing of cancer as important areas of research.

Genome-sequencing in particular, represents an increasingly significant trend within cancer research as it can lead to better diagnosis and more targeted treatment.

International Innovation also profiles two of IKM's researchers: Hans Krokan and Ann-Charlotte Iversen, and their work on DNA repair and genome-stability, and pre-eclampsia as an indicator of cardiovascular disease (CVD), respectively.

Krokan's research looks at the mechanisms of DNA damage (which is the basis for cancer) and how DNA is repaired by DNA repair proteins. This could lead to better diagnosis and, with time, drugs that target the DNA repair proteins.

Iversen is investigating the apparent connection between pre-eclampsia and the risk of CDV in women. Both share several risk factors and the researchers compare inflammatory mechanisms associated with both pre-eclampsia and atherosclerosis.

International Innovation – Healthcare is available upon (free) registration.

Palliative care congress

(04.06.2012) The 7th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) is being held in Trondheim on 7-9 June.

Palliative care congress

(04.06.2012) The 7th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) is being held in Trondheim on 7-9 June.

The Congress, which is expected to attract 1100 participants from around the world, will showcase the latest within palliative care.

Professor Stein Kaasa at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM) is Chair of both the EAPC Research Network (EAPC RN) and the European Palliative Care Research Center (PRC).

Eir – iPad medicine

One of the projects that will be highlighted during the Congress is Eir – a new standardized web-based pain assessment tool for use in palliative care in cancer patients.

The idea is that patients can register their symptoms on an iPad or computer tablet, and the information is passed on to doctors. The software will also recommend further investigation and treatment.

A pilot study is already ongoing at the outpatient cancer clinic in Trondheim.

Medicine against recurring multiple myeloma

Illustration.(31.07.2012) Multiple myeloma (cancer in the bone marrow) cannot be cured, and over time the cancer cells become resistant against treatment. But two medicines are showing promising results in relapsing patients, according to a research project lead by Adjunct Associate Professor Øyvind Hjertner at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), NTNU.

Medicine against recurring multiple myeloma

Illustration.(31.07.2012) Multiple myeloma (cancer in the bone marrow) cannot be cured, and over time the cancer cells become resistant against treatment. But two medicines are showing promising results in relapsing patients, according to a research project lead by Adjunct Associate Professor Øyvind Hjertner at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), NTNU.

Read more at Forskning.no (in Norwegian only).

Molecule recognizes bacteria

Illustration/photo.(07.08.2012) By comparing the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which caused the Black Plague in the 14th Century, with its less dangerous predecessor, the stomach/instestinal bacteria Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, researchers at NTNU have shown that the body's NLRP12 molecule can recognize bacteria.

Molecule recognizes bacteria

Illustration/photo.(07.08.2012) By comparing the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which caused the Black Plague in the 14th Century, with its less dangerous predecessor, the stomach/instestinal bacteria Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, researchers at NTNU have shown that the body's NLRP12 molecule can recognize bacteria.

"This is knowledge that will increase the understanding of how the immune system recognizes both the Yersinia-bacteria and other bacterial infections. This could be used to develop new antibacterial medicines and vaccines," says Egil Lien, Professor II at IKM, NTNU, and Associate Professor at UMass Medical School in the USA.

Read more about the discovery at Forskning.no (in Norwegian).

IKM receives more funding for cancer research

Terje Espevik at IKM. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.(12.11.2012) The Norwegian Cancer Society has recently distributed NOK 127.3 million across 115 research projects at 10 different institutions in Norway. Six of these projects, representing NOK6.8 million, are at NTNU.

IKM receives more funding for cancer research

Terje Espevik at IKM. Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU.(12.11.2012) The Norwegian Cancer Society has recently distributed NOK 127.3 million across 115 research projects at 10 different institutions in Norway. Six of these projects, representing NOK6.8 million, are at NTNU.

"Research is a prerequisite for progress. The Norwegian Cancer Society supports cancer research because we know it is how we achieve better treatment, and a better and longer life for cancer patients," says Secretary General Anne Lise Ryel.

IKM's Terje Espevik leads one of the projects

Espevik studies the activation of a group of molecules called toll-like receptors (TLR), which are very important in inflammatory responses in the body.

"Our immune system and inflammations are like a double-edged sword when it comes to cancer development," Espevik says.

In some cases an inflammation will lead to the destruction of cancer cells. In other cases an inflammation will stimulate growth in cancer cells.

"Our research into TLR and which mechanisms in the inflammatory response which contribute to the development of cancer, could give us clues on how to fight cancer in the future," Espevik says.

Half of the Cancer Society's funds go to research

The Norwegian Cancer Society's Anne Lise Ryel. Photo: Tobias Barvik."Research has a high priority at the Norwegian Cancer Society, and half of our funds go to cancer research," Ryel says.

The whole spectrum of cancer research is represented among this year's funding recipients – from fundamental research to applied, clinical research. This includes the main types of cancer, but also those with poor prognosis such as lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men and women, and has the highest mortality rate.

"The Norwegian Cancer Society is proud to contribute with such significant funds for cancer research this year. Norway has internationally recognised cancer researchers and it is important to give them enough funds for their research. Through our sponsors, new hope is created for the future," Ryel concludes.

Two new Centres of Excellence at the Faculty of Medicine

Norwegian Centre of Excellence logo(12.11.2012) The Research Council of Norway has given 13 research groups status as Centre of Excellence (SFF) from 2013. Two of these belong to the Faculty of Medicine (DMF): The Centre of Molecular Inflammation Research (CEMIR) and Centre for Neural Computation (CNC).

Two new Centres of Excellence at the Faculty of Medicine

Norwegian Centre of Excellence logo(12.11.2012) The Research Council of Norway has given 13 research groups status as Centre of Excellence (SFF) from 2013. Two of these belong to the Faculty of Medicine (DMF): The Centre of Molecular Inflammation Research (CEMIR) and Centre for Neural Computation (CNC).

Testing new cancer drug on humans in 2014

Professor Marit Otterlei. Foto: Geir Mogen/NTNU(13.11.2012) An APIM-peptide developed at the group for DNA-repair at IKM as shown an effect on prostate cancer, bone marrow cancer and leukemia – and could be tested on humans in 2014.

Testing new cancer drug on humans in 2014

Professor Marit Otterlei. Foto: Geir Mogen/NTNU(13.11.2012) An APIM-peptide developed at the group for DNA-repair at IKM as shown an effect on prostate cancer, bone marrow cancer and leukemia – and could be tested on humans in 2014.

So far, APIM has been tested on laboratory mice with human cancer cells, but according to Professor Marit Otterlei, the group is now getting close to testing the drug on humans.

Read more in the local newspaper: New cancer drug in 2014 (in Norwegian).

Stein Hallan in JAMA with kidney study

The study, which was led by Stein Hallan at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), has been published in the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). (iStockphoto)(14.12.2012) A meta-analysis with more than 2 million patients confirm that both reduced  filtration of waste in the kidneys and the leaking of the protein albumin in the urine increases the risk of developing end-stage kidney failure and the risk of dying – independent of age.

Stein Hallan in JAMA with kidney study

The study, which was led by Stein Hallan at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), has been published in the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). (iStockphoto)(14.12.2012) A meta-analysis with more than 2 million patients confirm that both reduced  filtration of waste in the kidneys and the leaking of the protein albumin in the urine increases the risk of developing end-stage kidney failure and the risk of dying – independent of age.

The study, which was led by Stein Hallan at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM), has been published in the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Relative risk not increased with age

Hallan et al. also confirm that the relative risk of dying from kidney failure does not increase with age as older people often also have other health issues. Nonetheless, the absolute risk of dying is higher for older patients with kidney failure.

Publication

Immune cell or cancer cell?

If AID mutates wrong genes, it could have serious consequences.(13.02.2013) IKM researchers have mapped how the mutation protein AID is transported from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the immune system's B-cells, and have thereby come closer to an understanding of what happens when the protein fails and leads to cancer instead of targeted antibodies.

Immune cell or cancer cell?

— IKM researchers resolve the transport code for mutator-protein

If AID mutates wrong genes, it could have serious consequences.(13.02.2013) IKM researchers have mapped how the mutation protein AID is transported from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the immune system's B-cells, and have thereby come closer to an understanding of what happens when the protein fails and leads to cancer instead of targeted antibodies.

"AID is the only protein in the body, which normal function is to mutate genes. If AID mutates wrong genes, it could have serious consequences. All new knowledge about the AID protein – which is essential to the immune system, but which can also cause cancer in the lymphatic system (B-cell lymphoma) – is important for diagnosis, prognosis and targeted treatment of these forms of cancer," says Researcher Bodil Kavli.

Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is a protein which mutates genes coding for antibodies in B-cells so that the body can produce targeted antibodies against disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

AID can also cause faulty mutations, which in turn can lead to for example the cancer B-cell lymphoma.

Because cells containing AID mutates very easily, cancer cells with AID can easily develop resistance against treatment. And a better understanding of AID could, in the future, contribute to the development of more targeted drugs.

"We have measured nuclear import and mapped the nuclear localisation signal of AID in detail, and shown that this signal also directs AID to nucleoli inside the cell's nucleus. By studying AID mutants, we have found that AID's biological activity is defined by nuclear import rate and DNA deamination activity."

International attention

The research has already attracted international attention. Professor David Schatz, a specialist in the field at Yale University School of Medicine, USA, has recommended the article at Faculty of 1000, a website identifying and evaluating the most important articles on biology and medicine.

Publication

Key to cancer could be in cell division mechanisms

By studying how normal cells behave throughout the cell cycle one can understand the origin of cancer. (Photo: iStockphoto)(04.03.2013) Researchers have come one step closer to understanding the origins of cancer by identifying genes that regulate cell division.

Key to cancer could be in cell division mechanisms

By studying how normal cells behave throughout the cell cycle one can understand the origin of cancer. (Photo: iStockphoto)(04.03.2013) Researchers have come one step closer to understanding the origins of cancer by identifying genes that regulate cell division.

"The correct regulation of the cell cycle is necessary for growth and development in all organisms. It is also necessary to prevent cancer which is caused by uncontrolled cell division," explains researcher Siv Anita Hegre at the Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine (IKM) at NTNU.

"By studying how normal cells behave throughout the cell cycle one can understand the origin of cancer. This could lead to more effective treatment, and earlier and more accurate diagnosis."

What the researchers have found is that for different cells, different genes could be involved in the cell division process – all according to the cell's function.

Cell cycle is the process where a cell is divided into two – i.e. a cell is replicated and becomes two new, identical cells.

Silent genes are genes that are latent, but not expressed. One can for example carry genes for brown hair and still be blond if the genes are not activated.

This emerged by investigating which genes are active during cell division in healthy cuticle skin cells (HaCaT/human keratinocytes). These were then compared with cervical cancer cells (HeLa) and normal primary cells (fibroblasts), which showed that the three cell types have 125 genes in common that are strongly correlated to cell cycle functions.

In the skin cells they found more than 1000 genes which can be associated with cell division. These 1000 can be divided into three categories:

  • "Housekeeping genes" with known functions in the cell division process;
  • Genes with specific characteristics for skin cells (such as skin renewable and wound-healing); and
  • Genes with a marker (H3K27me3) which is associated with genes that go from being silent to become active in the DNA-replication phase.

Related publications

The Black Death wasn't dead – CEMIR looks at bubonic plague bacteria

CEMIR looks at the Black Death bacteria. (Illustration)(19.03.2013) Whilst digging in connection with a railways project in London, workers found a grave with 14 skeletons – most likely a mass grave from the bubonic plague also known as the Black Death. CEMIR and researchers from the University of Massachusetts will now look at the bubonic plague bacteria, which is still active.

The Black Death wasn't dead – CEMIR looks at bubonic plague bacteria

CEMIR looks at the Black Death bacteria. (Illustration)(19.03.2013) Whilst digging in connection with a railways project in London, workers found a grave with 14 skeletons – most likely a mass grave from the bubonic plague also known as the Black Death. CEMIR and researchers from the University of Massachusetts will now look at the bubonic plague bacteria, which is still active.

The full news story about the Black Death research can be found at Dagbladet.no (in Norwegian).


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