Cancer research elite meet in Bergen

Some of the world’s top cancer researchers presented the latest news in cancer research at the Centre for Cancer Biomarker´s third symposium.

The participants at the Centre for Cancer Biomarker's third annual symposium at Solstrand, south of Bergen, in May 2015.
DISCUSSING PRESENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES: Two hundred cancer researchers met at Solstrand hotel 19 and 20 May 2015 for CCBIO’s third cancer research symposium.
Ingvild Festervoll Melien

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The Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO) invited cancer researcher to their annual symposium, for the third time. At the symposium, international leading researchers mingled with students to discuss the latest news in cancer research. During two days there were lectures and poster sessions, where young researchers presented their research.
Professor Lars A. Akslen, director of CCBIO, mentions Klaus Pantel´s lecture as one of the speeches of great current interest. It´s about how one can use blood samples for screening cancer, to diagnose and give prognoses.
“Tumours leave behind certain cells that circulate in the blood vessels. The new type of blood test seems to be an exciting and a precise method to monitor cancer in addition to x-rays,” says Akslen.

CCBIO is one of four current Centres of Excellence (SFF) at the University of Bergen (UiB), a program administered and sponsored by the Research Council of Norway.


Speeding up research to treatment

CCBIO work on a daily basis to achieve new knowledge in cancer biology. In particular, the researchers are particular concerned with mapping the principles of why tumours act as they do. They want to find out why some tumours get aggressive, while others remain passive.
New knowledge of such biological mechanisms is put to rigorous clinical testing continuously. The aim is to offer better diagnosis and more tailor-made treatment.
Akslen points out that CCBIO always try to cut time from research to clinic, and from diagnosis to treatment.
“One of the reasons why the path from research to treatment is too slow today, is because the pharmaceutical industry puts too much funding into big and slow research programmes,” says Akslen about the funding into cancer research.


Thinking outside of the box

One important point of arranging an annual CCBIO symposium is to let the participants mingle in an informal setting and discuss current research topics. There is no “fly in-fly out-opportunity”. The participants must all stay at the hotel for the two days of the symposium. Poster sessions are put up in the hallways at lunchtime, so that young researchers can present their projects to international senior researchers.
“To us being a centre of excellence does not only mean excellent research. It also entails excellent education. The symposium gives the opportunity for students to meet, and make contact with senior researchers, who are internationally leading in their field. At the same time, the setting gives us great opportunity to think outside of the box,” says Lars A. Akslen.