Cancer Crosslinks for the 10th time
This year, Cancer Crosslink was organized for the 10th time, and top-notch international speakers attended the meeting entitled “Precision Treatment: Exploiting Recent Advances – Fast and Furious?”. CCBIO postdoc and gynecologist Liv Cecilie Vestrheim Thomsen chaired the meeting together with Christian Kersten, oncologist at Center for Cancer Treatment, Sørlandet Hospital, Kristiansand.
The presentations covered front line research within various clinical and experimental aspects of cancer immunotherapy, the microbiome in cancer, and recent advances in surveillance of ovarian cancer (see program).
Anne Kjersti Fahlvik from the Norwegian Research Council introduced the meeting. She commented on the importance of promoting research and supporting the scientists and science institutions to generally increasing the level of knowledge and additionally, to assist in working on the challenges related to state welfare, where the focus of the national economy is shifting, and novel innovative areas are important.
From immunotherapy to Big Data
Jeffrey S. Weber, a pioneer in cancer immunotherapy, took the audience through recent advances of immunotherapy in malignant melanoma and discussed aspects of the future of cancer immunotherapy, highlighting amongst other the need for new systems for functional cancer studies and development of robust predictive biomarkers. Laure Bindel gave an overview of microbiota and examples of the gut-host crosstalk, and suggested a microbiota related approach to cachexia. Hege Russnes and Anne Hansen Ree gave updates from the Norwegian multicenter study “MetAction”, and shared experiences from the first Norwegian study of NGS-based therapy decisions in advanced cancer. Russnes and Ree stressed the importance of strong multidisciplinary teams in the work-up of combined histopathologic and molecular analyses, and the associated clinical recommendations. Douglas A. Levine demonstrated the preliminary work on intrauterine nanolaser biosensors, potentially getting data on biomarkers relevant for the surveillance and diagnostics of ovarian and endometrial cancer. After having been introduced by Alexander Fosså, Andreas Engert gave a comprehensive overview of studies and assembled knowledge within hematologic oncology, and particularly on Hodgkin's lymphoma, on an immunologic background. He further pinpointed focus areas for research within the field. Marcela V. Maus then took the audience through the development of next generation genetically-modified (CAR) T cells and how they can be used as immunotherapy, currently in hematological diseases, but potentially also in solid tumors. Completing the day, the UiB researcher Marc Vaudel and CCBIO postdoc and pathologist Elisabeth Wik gave a presentation on “Making sense of Big Data for Oncology Patients – Vision and Reality”, presenting status, visions and challenges when dealing with big data and computational medicine.
Meeting place for the Norwegian oncology community
Jutta Heix, international advisor at Oslo Cancer Cluster and responsible for arranging the Cancer Crosslinks annual meeting, tells that since the first meeting in 2009, Cancer Crosslinks has evolved into a relevant annual meeting place for the Norwegian oncology community. Jutta continues: “It is very motivating to see that the number of participants still increases and that we attract translational scientists, clinicians including oncologists and hematologists as well as representatives from start-ups, biotechs, pharma companies and regulatory agencies to this event. Based on the positive feedback we received for this 10th Cancer Crosslinks, participants truly appreciated the scientific program featuring leading international and Norwegian experts as well as the networking opportunities during the day and evening event. Again we closely collaborated with representatives from Haukeland University Hospital and University of Bergen, and look forward to jointly develop the next year's program."