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The institute receives funding from the Norwegian Cancer Society

The funding goes to two new research projects that will contribute to increased knowledge about early stages of cancer development and new forms of cancer treatment.

These are the projects that receive funding

Image of researcher Hilde Nilsen
Professor Hilde Loge Nilsen. Image: UiO. 

Hilde Loge Nilsen
“Uracil Base Excision repair as a tumor enabler in APOBEC expressing tumors - Implications for B-cell lymphomagenesis”

Professor Hilde Loge Nilsen and colleagues study early stages of cancer development. In the new project, they want to find out how cells get the trait that characterises cancer cells, which is that they mutate much more than other cells.

– We will study two processes that are central to this trait. One group of enzymes that cause DNA damage and another group of enzymes that repair DNA. The enzymes that repair DNA do so by removing the damage so that no mutations occur, Nilsen says.

Enzymes are proteins that perform chemical reactions in the body.

The researchers' goal is that the knowledge from the project about the fundamental properties of cancer cells can be used to improve cancer treatment in the future.

– The knowledge from the new project is not only important to understand why a cancer cell becomes a cancer cell, but also to understand how we can prevent the development of cancer cells that become resistant to treatment, the professor says.

The principle investigator says that she is very happy with the funding allocation from the Norwegian Cancer Society.

– We work to understand the very basic dynamics between DNA damage and DNA repair. The path to direct benefit for patient treatment is longer for our research than for more clinically oriented, cancer research, she says, and adds:

– Nevertheless, DNA repair is central to many types of cancer treatment. The Norwegian Cancer Society has been central in building a DNA repair research environment in Norway. It means a lot that the Norwegian Cancer Society still prioritises long-term, basic research on DNA damage and DNA repair.

The project receives NOK 8 million from the Norwegian Cancer Society. 

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Image of researcher Jan Terje Andersen
Professor Jan Terje Andersen. Image: Moment Studio.

Jan Terje Andersen
"Tailored antibody-based treatment of cancer"

In the new and interdisciplinary research project, Professor Andersen and colleagues will explore opportunities to design even more tailored and potent antibodies that can fight cancer cells.

– Monoclonal antibodies have revolutionised the treatment of cancer, and save lives. However, the effect is limited to certain types of cancer. There is therefore an obvious need to develop the next generation of tailored antibodies that can improve treatment and survival, Andersen says.

The project builds on insights from previous projects into how antibodies are transported in and across cells, as well as into how antibodies can engage immune cells to kill cancer cells in an effective way.

– Such antibodies can either attack the cancer cells directly, which is the most effective way, or they can remove blocking mechanisms, which otherwise limit the immune system's ability to fight the cancer cells. Our lab has developed new principles for how we can achieve a better effect, the project manager says.

Andersen says the following about the funding from the Norwegian Cancer Society:

– It is gratifying that the Norwegian Cancer Society sees the potential in our research findings, as well as in how we can explore unique Norwegian antibody technology in the development of improved cancer treatment. The funding sets the direction and focus. We will explore the potential together with a complementary team of cancer researchers and clinicians.

The project receives NOK 6,675,000 from the Norwegian Cancer Society.

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Tags: Cancer research, funding, Norwegian Cancer Society, Hilde Loge Nilsen, Jan Terje Andersen By Elin Martine Doeland
Published Nov. 16, 2021 4:22 PM - Last modified Dec. 1, 2021 2:53 PM