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Helse Vest awards to CCBIO researchers

Helse Vest's Research Prize was this year awarded to the Gynaecologic Research Group led by CCBIO PI Helga B. Salvesen. The Innovation Award went to James Lorens at BerGenBio and UiB, also CCBIO PI.

From left: Herlof Nilssen, Managing Director at Helse Vest, James Lorens, Helga Salvesen og Baard-Christian Schem, Senior Advisor at Helse Vest.
From left: Herlof Nilssen, Managing Director at Helse Vest, James Lorens, Helga Salvesen og Baard-Christian Schem, Senior Advisor at Helse Vest.
Photo:
Kjetil Alsvik, Helse Vest

The prizes were awarded at Helse Vest's research conference which took place in Stavanger at Sola Strand Hotel on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 October 2015.

Helga Salvesen's research group has done groundbreaking research on cervical cancer.

"It is great to receive this prize, and I am very happy for that. I'm glad to be able to share the joy with all the colleagues who are part of the research group, both at the university and at Haukeland University Hospital. I have many to thank for the work they have done, still I would particularly like to convey my gratitude to all the women who have contributed with samples and made it possible to do this research", says Helga Salvesen in an interview to Helse Bergen web.​

Salvesen adds that the group has been given good working conditions to take the research further and to plan for even more projects, so that they could work both across health regions in Norway and cooperate with other countries.

Also read article in Bergens Tidende: -Dette er en pris som synliggjør alle de kvinnene som har bidratt, sier professor og overlege Helga Salvesen (in Norwegian).

 

Individualized treatment

In 2011, Salvesen received the Helse Vest Innovation Award together with Lars A. Akslen for a new technology that can provide uterine cancer patients better and more customized treatment. Since then, Salvesen and her research group have taken their research to clinical implementation, that is, the results of the research can be used to benefit the patients.

"We can provide better identification of patients with low risk of relapse, thereby potentially contributing to better quality of life by for example letting them avoid chemotherapy. We are now able to identify "mother tumors" in the woman and tumors with proliferation, and contribute to more individualized treatment", Salvesen explains.
Managing Director Herlof Nilssen at Helse Vest presented the award, which consists of 200,000 Norwegian Kroner and a work of art.

Read here what the jury says about the awarding to Helga Salvesen (in Norwegian).

 

Innovation Award to James Lorens

James Lorens received the Innovation Award for developing and improving treatment against breast cancer. He has shown that good research can be successfully transferred to innovation and product development.

Lorens has, together with his research group, found that the AXL receptor tyrosine kinase plays a fundamental role in breast cancer. As a result of these findings it is possible to treat cancers that have reached an advanced stage, and inhibit cancer cells' ability to spread and become resistant to drugs.

Lorens has together with Bergen Teknologioverføring (BTO) established the company BerGenBio, a company that is one of the nation's most important biotechnology initiatives in 2015. (Also read about BerGenBio receiving a Nordic Star Award in September 2015.)

 

"This is a big surprise and I am very grateful for the award", says Lorens to Helse Bergen web. "This is a great validation of the work we've done, and shows that investment and innovation is encouraged. It is possible to commercialize basic research, and this has happened relatively quickly. The patients are the ones who will benefit from the work we are doing. In a way you could say that we are taking the laboratory to the patients. It is easy to say but not so easy to actually do", Lorens explains.

 

Supports the next generation

Lorens has no clear idea of what he would use the prize money to, but hope they can go to the next generation of researchers, so that they can go abroad and learn more."This award is not just for me. Many interdisciplinary collaborations, over several decades, have been part of making this possible. With private investors, we have been able to develop novel treatment. I hope that with this award we can be an inspiration to others", says the Innovation Award winner.

Read here what the jury says about the awarding to James Lorens (in Norwegian).

 

Congratulations to both!