Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

Associate investigators

Global Health Priorities - Ole-Frithjof Norheim

Global Health Priorities is an interdisciplinary research group situated at the Department of Global Health and Primary Care at the University of Bergen. The group consists of a team of cross-disciplinary researchers and professionals dedicated to study the ethics and economics of priority setting in global health.


Ole Frithjof Norheim standing, holding a painting.
Ole-Frithjof Norheim
Ingvild Festervoll Melien

The group aims to better understand substantial ethical dilemmas, priority setting processes and fairness in resource allocation in low-, middleand high-income countries. Key topics for Global Health Priorities are; the ethics of decisions at a clinical and population level, local implications of global/national health policies, equityefficiency trade-offs, and standard and extended health economic evaluations.

The main emphasis is on priority setting in global health, but the group also does substantial work on priority setting at the national level.

The group’s projects

The current focus is on the new era of personalized cancer diagnostics and therapy: seeking new roles for age and biomarkers in clinical decision making. The group is investigating three issues in particular:

• Todays use of patient age in clinical decision making

• How biomarkers and age will affect treatment decisions for new expensive drugs

• Assess how biomarkers and age best can be used in clinical decision making

Plans for the future

PhD project started August 2016, UiB financing until 2020. 

Cancer, NCDs and global health 

Cancer is the second largest non-communicable disease group (NCD), and is now the third largest cause of mortality and morbidity in the world (DALYs). NCDs have risen on the global agenda the last years. Traditionally linked to ageing, affluence and lifestyle in high-income countries, it has now been evident that NCDs have a large global impact, typically with a disproportional effect in low- and middle-income countries. The majority of both future cancer cases and cancer deaths will come in low- and middle- income countries. This means that providing access to new and better cancer diagnostics and treatment must have a global ambition. In the literature on ethics and priority setting, higher priority to the worse off is considered relevant. The launch of the Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission, with contributions from GHP, is an effort to address the negative link between poverty and health, and to rethink priority setting for NCD and injuries for the poorest billion.