Kuijjer Group awarded funding from the Familien Blix Fond

Funding will enable further investigation of sarcoma samples drawn from the NoSarC biobank

Photo of Marieke
Dr. Marieke Kuijjer

Congratulations to Marieke Kuijjer and Tatiana Belova on receiving a grant from the Familien Blix Fond for their project, ‘Identification and characterization of regulatory subtypes in leiomyosarcoma’. 

Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a rare form of cancer that affects smooth muscle tissue. LMS is heterogeneous and exists in several different forms, such as in the uterus, on the skin or in blood vessels. There is currently very little understanding of why patients develop the disease.

Through analysis of gene regulatory networks, Tatiana has been able to identify potential new regulatory subtypes in LMS. The Familien Blix fond grant will support with further investigating these subtypes. Specifically, the group will sequence transcriptomics and chromatin states in samples taken from a Norwegian leiomyosarcoma cohort, drawn from the ‘NoSarC’ biobank at Oslo University Hospital to validate their findings. 

Dr. Marieke Kuijjer comments:

“We were thinking about how we could capture data from Norwegian patients. We have some ongoing collaborations with sarcoma experts, Professor Ola Myklebost from the University of Bergen, and Leonardo Meza-Zepeda at the Genomics Core Facility at Oslo University Hospital.” 

Dr. Tatiana Belova, who applied for the grant alongside Dr. Kuijjer adds:

Photo of Tatiana
Dr. Tatiana Belova. Photo: UiO

"We are very happy to receive support from the Familien Blix Fond. The grant will allow us to explore in more detail what drives heterogeneity among leiomyosarcoma patients. Hopefully, with our analysis of patient-specific gene regulatory networks and more omics-data being available, we can build a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulatory landscape of LMS."

Professor Myklebost started NoSarC about eight years ago. The project is a collaboration between the clinical sarcoma groups in all Norwegian health regions. NoSarC aims to collect all available biopsies from these types of tumours. This has subsequently developed into a large and inter­nationally unique biobank containing material from several annual popu­lation-based cohorts of Norwe­gian sarcoma patients.

Dr. Kuijjer continues, “We hope to be able to validate some of our results and profile more samples using the NoSarC biobank. We will profile both the RNA-seq and also look at the open chromatin states in cancers from this patient cohort. It is difficult to get funding for projects relating to sarcomas because they are relatively rare. We now want to get as many profiles sampled as possible and learn more about these cancers.”

Learn more about the NoSarC project: https://www.ous-research.no/home/myklebost/NoSarc

Visit the Kuijjer Group’s website: https://www.kuijjerlab.org/index.html

Published Nov. 26, 2020 3:42 PM - Last modified Mar. 16, 2021 1:08 PM