Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

Translational Molecular Imaging in Cancer

Professor Emmet McCormack is PI of the research group Translational Molecular Imaging in Cancer. Main motivation of the group is the development and effective translation of novel therapies and imaging strategies for the treatment of cancer, particularly cancers with limited therapeutic options.

Portrait photo.
Ingvild Festervoll Melien

Main content

Research focus

The main motivation of the PreCOS group is the development and effective translation of novel therapies and imaging strategies for the treatment of cancer, particularly cancers with limited therapeutic options.


1. Engaging IPSC techniques; the Norwegian Cancer Society funded project AMIDE will generate models of patient’s disease, including the patients’ own immune system for the ultimate personalized immuno-oncology models.

2. IDDEA funding from the Norwegian Cancer Society and in collaboration with OUS (Sébastien Wälchli) will evaluate novel CAR-T in ovarian cancers, with generation and implementation of innovative CAR T cell designs to increase tumor targeting specificity, safety and overcome T-cell exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment.

3. UiB Idé currently funds 2 concepts; In the first, the group will develop a novel dual CAR-T approach for the treatment of hematological malignancies, whilst the second will initiate the application of fluorescence image guided surgery in companion animals as a surrogate model to surgical intervention in the clinic.

4. The CoDaFlight project is centered around the development of time-domain fluorescence image guided surgery, funded by the EIC pathfinder program. The group will lead a work package evaluating this innovative concept in both mice and canine companion animals.

5. PARIS is an ERA-PerMED grant awarded to evaluate novel therapies and combination therapies in resistant ovarian cancer patients. The PreCOS group will develop models of resistance and evaluate therapies.

6. INTERCEPT-MDS is a MCSA-ITN action, from which PreCOS will host one ESR focused on the development of novel xenograft models of myelodysplastic syndromes (collaboration with Astrid Olsnes Kittang).

7. PERMIT, a H2020-funded project, will develop recommendations for robust and reproducible personalized medicine research. PreCOS involvement has been through work package 5 of this initiative where in collaboration with EATRIS, the group examined the role of preclinical modeling in academic and industrial development of personalized medicine.

8. Two projects are funded through the Norwegian Childhood Cancer Society; PICCA2 and PERCAP, which will both explore personalized medicine approaches to children’s cancers (with collaborators Lars Herfindal, Sébastien Wälchli and Maria Winther Gunnes).

Important results

In a 2022 report, the group’s intrabursal orthotopic PDX model of ovarian cancer – critical to the development of personalized therapies in this disease – was described in detail (Popa et al., Methods Mol Biol, 2022). Kleinmanns et al. (Cancers, 2022) further evolved this model to describe, for the first time, the development and application of a humanized orthotopic patient derived xenograft model of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. In this work, Kleinmanns described the parameters necessary to develop such a model, extensive functional analysis of humanization with CyTOF (34 markers) and application with anti-PD-1 inhibition. In the PERMIT project (described above), the group surveyed the use of preclinical modeling systems within academia and industry (Fosse et al., J Pers. Med, 2022). Subsequently, Fosse leads a team of internationally recognized scientists to establish recommendations of a framework for robust and reproducible preclinical research in personalized medicine (Fosse et al., BMC Med, 2023).

Future plans

Building on the results above and new collaborations with OUS, the group has several biomarkers under development as novel targets for CAR-T, which will be developed in their novel immunocompetent PDX models.