The main research focus of Professor Line Bjørge's group is ovarian cancer, and the aim is to translate data from comprehensive molecular profiling into clinical meaningful strategies to improve prevention and individualized patient care.
The main focus for the translational research portfolio is biomarker studies, preclinical models and early as well as late phase clinical studies. Dr. Bjørge is also the principal investigator for two projects funded by the European Commission and national coordinator for different international phase II and III studies on treatment of gynecological cancer.
Together with Emmet McCormack, Bjørge has established the research group INOvA (Innovative Novel Ovarian cancer treatment Approaches, https://inova.w.uib.no).
The following projects are ongoing:
• Female cancer prediction using cervical omics to individualize screening and prevention (FORECEE, https://forecee.eu)
• Prediction of platinum response in ovarian carcinomas (RESPONSE)
• Precision medicine in epithelial ovarian cancer – The role of tumor biology for surgical outcomes
• Image-Guided Surgery (IGS) and Personalised Postoperative Immunotherapy To Improving Cancer Outcome (ISPIC, http://www.ispic.eu)
• Bioprofiling in patients undergoing treatment with targeted therapeutics
• Development and validation of a molecular tool for more precise diagnosis and personalized treatment of oral and vulva carcinomas
The INOvA team has identified a theranostic platform for imaging-guided surgery in ovarian cancer and established a portfolio of different preclinical animal models for ovarian carcinoma.
Further the groups have initiated its very first investigator initiated early phase clinical study entitled: IMPACT: A phase 0 non-randomized Window-of-Opportunity study of novel and repurposed therapeutic agents in women triaged to primary surgery for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer in stages IIIa - IV, , EudraCT number 2017-001689-11, ClinicalTrials.gov ID: 2017/1168.
Through the use of mass cytometry and omics analysis the INOvA team aims to establish an immunogram and identify debulking signatures for epithelial ovarian cancer, respectively. The preclinical animal model portfolio for ovarian cancer will be further expanded and used to explore image-guided-surgery and immunotherapeutic strategies. During fall 2018 the group’s second investigator initiated clinical study will be initiated. It is named INFLUENCE: The influence of cytoreduction on patient-reported outcomes in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer, ClinicalTrials.gov ID: 2017/941.
Current challenges in the field
Based on the improved recognition of cellular and molecular diversity, a more refined personalized approach to research and clinical trials for ovarian cancer is needed. A roadmap for research priorities has been suggested, including development of better experimental models, characterization of the tumor microenvironment, better understanding of clonal diversity, recurrent disease, exceptional responders, and improved value of surgical cytoreduction. Furthermore, as progress is being made in prolonging the survival of ovarian cancer patients, recognizing how the disease itself, as well as the treatment, may interfere with the patients’ overall wellbeing and quality of life is critical.