Vision for our work
Chemoresistance remains the main obstacle to cure in most cancer forms. Our main focus at the Mohn Laboratory for Cancer Research is to identify the mechanisms of therapy resistance and use this as a platform for improved therapy.
Chemotherapy has improved outcome and overall survival in many cancer forms. Regrettably, for many patients their cancer disease develop resistance toward therapy. As for today, our knowledge regarding the mechanisms of therapy resistance in cancer patients is limited; thus, we do not know either how to overcome resistance or how to prevent it from developing. Cancer is due to acquired gene mutations within the tumour cells, and we anticipate therapy resistance in general to be caused by mutations in particular genes regulating key mechanisms in cell survival. In total, each cell in the human body is regulated by the products of 22.000 genes; out of these, less than 1.000 are considered of critical importance to cancer development and behavior. To analyse for gene mutations is work-demanding and costly. However, while we used to analyse for genes individually (one gene at each analyses only), as for today novel technologies allows analysing several thousand genes in concert. Our research program centers on patient therapy studies, in which we carefully collect tumour tissue samples for gene mutation analyses. By doing so, we envision to identify key mechanisms regulating sensitivity and resistance toward individual therapy forms.
The results from these studies may have significant implications: in the short-run, it may lead toward predictive factors, allowing individual therapy selection within the armamentarium of treatment regimens currently available. In the long run, our vision is to develop novel, more effective strategies, allowing successful treatment for tumours for which no cure is available by contemporary standards.