Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
Financial support

New support from Helse Vest

CCBIO Associate Investigator Daniela Elena Costea received support for 3 years (4.5 milion kr) from Western Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Vest) for the project "Defining molecular subtypes of head and neck cancer by integrative mutational, stromal and inflammatory landscape analysis".

X-ray, tomography and MRI scans of the Human head

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Head and neck cancer

The project focuses on developing a novel diagnostic method for stratification of head and neck cancer patients. Head and neck cancer (HNC) ranks as 6th most common cancer type worldwide and the region with the highest incidence for both sexes for oropharyngeal cancers is Western Europe due to the increasingly more common HPV(+) cases. There are no efficient methods for prediction of disease progression or for targeted therapy in HNC. Even though HPV-related cases are associated with a better survival, there is still a significant number of HPV(+) cases that do not respond favourable to treatment. The group's hypothesis, based on solid preliminary results, is that a more refined classification of HNSCC in subgroups with differential clinical characteristics is achievable by combining a targeted mutational analysis with a comprehensive analysis of host response. This study might also provide valuable information for development of a diagnostic tool kit by biomedical companies that will be used by hospitals and clinics where it can benefit patients.

To cope with the challenging complexity of this project, they have carefully designed a series of step-wise human tissue analyses and experimental assays. These will be carried out by three research groups with complementary expertise lead by Professor DE Costea, Professor HJ Aarstad and Professor OK Vintermyr, respectively, and when needed, with assistance from our carefully selected local, national and international collaborators.

Other collaborators are: Professor S Appel from the Broegelman Research Laboratory, UiB, for expertise in immunology, Professor D Gullberg from Department of Biomedicine and CCBIO, UiB, and Professor A Östman from Karolinska Institute and CCBIO for expertise in tumor stroma, Associate Professor D Sapkota from the University of Oslo, for expertise in molecular biology and construction of shRNA vectors, Professor I Jonassen from the Department of Informatics and CCBIO, UiB, for expertise in statistics and bioinformatics respectively, Professor S Gutkind, from Moores Cancer Centre, University of San Diego, US, for expertise in mutational landscape analysis of HPV(+) versus HPV(-) HNSCC, and implementation initiation of research data in clinical trials, and previous HNSCC survivor Are Rydland, clinical consultant oncologists Dr. A Karlsdottir and Dr. M Brydøy for consultancy related to the clinical implementation of this project.

Continued support to other CCBIO projects

Helse Vest has also granted continued open project support to ongoing projects:

  • Bjørn Tore Gjertsen with 2 projects: "Bergen Clinical Mass Cytometry Consortium" and "Repurposing medicines for therapy of acute leukemia"
  • Emmet McCormack with the project "Sonoporation of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma"
  • Lars A. Akslen with the project "Breast cancer microenvironment: Protein networks and novel treatment targets in aggressive tumor subgroups"

In addition also several fellowships. See complete list here.