The Department of Biomedicine

International fibrosis conference in Bergen

On May 23 and 24, 2019, the world's leading fibrosis and cancer researchers met in Bergen at an international fibrosis conference on the topic "New tools to study the fibrotic stroma".

Gruppebildet av konferansedeltakerne
Torstein Ravnskog

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During the conference, new findings were discussed in basic research and clinical research on connective tissue cells in fibrosis and tumors. Representatives from three biotechnology companies showed their ongoing work to develop drugs that focus on limiting fibrosis and tumor growth by directly targeting stroma cells.

The speakers in Bergen included:

  • Geir Christensen, University of Oslo
  • Donald Gullberg, University of Bergen
  • John Marshall, Barts Cancer Institute, England
  • Roya Navab, Toronto
  • Agnes Noel, Liege, Belgium
  • Christopher McCulloch, Toronto
  • Valerie Weaver, UCSF, San Francisco
  • Arne Östman, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm

This was the third conference within the framework of the MOTIF project. The project is a four-year cooperation between Norway and North America, financed by Diku. This year, Professor Donald Gullberg from the Department of Biomedicine has invited the other partners from the University of Toronto, Canada and UCSF, USA. The first MOTIF conference was held in Toronto in 2017, the second at UCSF in 2018. This year's conference was held at Hotel Terminus and during the conference day, the owner family hosted a well-received lecture about the hotel's interesting history.

World-leading breast cancer researcher

Professor Valerie Weaver from the University of California in San Francisco also gave a lecture at the CCBIO seminar series at the Department of Biomedicine.

Professor Weaver has attracted great international attention. It started with a research article in 2005, in which she used experimental systems to show that a tight connective tissue is an important factor for the growth of tumors. In 2009, these results were taken further by demonstrating that a certain type of cell surface receptors - integrins - use mechanotransduction to recognize the stiffness of the connective tissue stiffness. In breast cancer tumors, this can stimulate tumor growth.

Both of these studies have had a major impact, and Professor Weaver is now a world-leading expert in mechanical transduction. In the seminar entitled "Forcing tumor risk, transformation and aggression", the importance of mechanotransduction in various aspects of tumor growth was discussed.

Recommended reading:

  1. Paszek, M.J. et al. Tensional homeostasis and the malignant phenotype. Cancer Cell 8, 241-254 (2005).
  2. Levental, K.R. et al. Matrix crosslinking forces tumor progression by enhancing integrin signaling. Cell 139, 891-906 (2009).