Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory

Methods and technology

Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory is a modern facility, fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology for translational cancer research, including an in-house massive parallel sequencing facility, cell culture facilities and infrastructure for all types of molecular analyses. Research projects are located at the intersection between basic-molecular biology and clinical studies.

Main content

Mohn Cancer Research Laboratory is located on floor 1M in the Laboratory building at Haukeland University Hospital. We also dispose a lab on the 6th floor in the same building, located at the Department of Oncology at the University of Bergen. In total, our researchers have 500 square meters dedicated to translational cancer research at their disposition. 

Since the opening of the laboratory in 2009, the activity has gradually increased, and we have acquired new instruments and built new infrastructures.

Genetic and epigenetic analyses of patient materials are mainly performed by so-called «next-generation-sequencing», or massive parallel sequencing. For these analyses we have one instrument for large-scale analyses (Illumina NovaSeq) and two smaller, efficient instruments for analyses of patient materials before, during and after treatment, for patients enrolled in clinical studies (Illumina MiSeq).

In addition, we perform a wide range of more conventional methods for molecular analyses; e.g. PCR with subsequent Sanger sequencing, quantitative PCR (real-time PCR), bisulphite-modification of DNA with subsequent methylation-specific analyses, MLPA, Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry on tissue microarray (TMA). All findings are linked to updated databases with clinical information.

In addition to the analyses performed directly on material from patients, cell cultures are widely used as model systems. Cell cultures are mainly used for functional studies (studies of which effect different gene variants, found in patients, have on a cell).

Among the technologies used in cell culture assays is CRISPR/Cas9 modification, over-expression of gene variants through transfection of expression plasmids, «knock-down» of gene expression using siRNA and treatment with different types of cytostatic drugs, etc.

For monitoring/measuring the effect of different gene variants/treatments in cell cultures we use «real-time» cell surveillance (ECIS) and/or live-imaging microscopy, apoptosis-, senescence- and cell cycle analyses, protein-interactions studies (co-immunoprecipitation, etc.) and enzyme activity assays, as well as reporter-gene assays.