Medinnova's Idea Prize to research group working on early markers for tumors in the digestive system

Guro E. Lind

Every year Medinnova distributes its Idea prize to the best idea with commercial potential originating from employees belonging to the Norwegian Health Region South-East (Helse Sør-Øst).
This years prize went to four employees from the Department of Cancer Prevention: Guro E. Lind (photo), Ragnhild A. Lothe, Rolf I. Skotheim and Terje Ahlquist.
They have identified new biological markers for colorectal tumours. These markers may contribute to the development of a test for discovering cancer at an early stage.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most frequent cancer forms in Norway, with 3400 new cases every year. Unfortunately, less than 60% of the patients survive the first five years. By using a test that can discover the tumours at an early stage, preferably before they become malignant, more patients will survive.

From left: Rolf I. Skotheim, Terje Ahlquist, Guro E. Lind and Ragnhild Lothe. (click to enlarge image)
Tests in use today are not good enough. The novel markers discovered by Lothe's research group are genes that have a modified chemical wrapping in the cancer cells. Since the intestine cells are replaced regularly, and the genetic material is excreted, it is possible to discover such changes by routine, by performing a faeces test. The identified markers are considered to have an especially large potential of being developed further into an available routine test for the benefit of the patient as well as the national public health service.

A patent application has been sent for the idea, and it is also suggested that these markers may be used to discover cancer tumours other places in the digestive system.

The prize was distributed during the Rikshospitalet staff meeting Friday 23rd of November.

Links:

TV2 interview with Ragnhild A. Lothe (mpg format, 46MB, in Norwegian)
To open the mpg file: choose "Save as", save the file locally, and then open it in a media player program, i.e. Windows Media Player)

Article in "NBS-nytt" (nr. 1 2008, PDF format, in Norwegian)

Ragnhild A. Lothe's group: Cancer genetics

Department of Cancer Prevention

Institute for Cancer Research

Medinnova