The Brain Tumour Immunology & Therapy lab
Developing a novel immunotherapy that can be tested in clinical trials for GBM patients in combination with standard treatment regimens to improve the quality of life and extend survival of GBM patients.
The Brain Tumour Immunology & Therapy lab, led by Dr Martha Chekenya Enger, is one of 5 labs that are integral nodes of the larger, dynamic Translational Cancer Research Group based at the Univesity of Bergen.
Our research is focused on elucidating the role of NG2, a chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan, and its gene (CSPG4) in the malignant progression of Glioblastoma. NG2/CSPG4 is expressed by several tissue specific progenitor cells during development and the expression is attenuated upon terminal differentiation. NG2 expression is recapitulated on proliferating cancer cells and on angiogenic vasculature in cancer and wound healing. We have demonstrated over the past decade that NG2 signalling mediates critical processes in malignant progression, such as cell proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, resistance to chemotherapy and and radiotherapy through multiple mechanisms. We recently showed that NG2 is an independent prognostic factor mediating shorter survival of GBM patients. We are currently developing an immunotherapy-based treatment targeting NG2 with monoclonal antibodies administered in combination with adoptively transferred natural killer cells.
The overall mission is to conduct translational research that may be transferred from the bench to the bedside in the form of new, targeted therapies for brain tumour patients. Our group is composed of a multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, molecular biologists, physicists and neuropathologists. The department of biomedicine is strategically connected to the Haukeland University Hospital by numerous foot-bridges to facilitate dynamic interactions between the basic scientists and the clinicians. The University of Bergen has state-of-the-art animal breeding and husbandry facilities, imaging platforms including a high resolution 7 Tesla animal MRI machine.