Paper on novel pathway selected for inclusion in the ‘In This Issue’ section of Journal of Cell Science

Beata Grallert (left) and Christiane Rothe
Beata Grallert (left) and Christiane Rothe

Cell-cycle checkpoints are crucial for the maintenance of genomic integrity. The checkpoint operating in G2 phase of the cell cycle prevents entry into mitosis in the face of DNA damage. In cancer cells checkpoints are often deficient and thus they most likely rely on alternative pathways.
The authors describe a novel pathway for delayed entry into mitosis in response to DNA damage, which does not depend on the classic checkpoint pathways. Instead, the pathway involves selective translation regulation of a key mitotic regulator, cyclin B. This work is the first demonstration of selective translation regulation of a cell-cycle regulator in response to DNA-damage stress and raises the question whether similar pathways also exist in cancer cells with impaired checkpoints.
The findings are selected for the "In this issue" section in "Journal of Cell Science" on Dec 1st.


Jan Terje Andersen receives a grant of 8.5 million NOK from NANO2021

Jan Terje Andersen
Jan Terje Andersen

The Laboratory of Adaptive Immunity and Homeostasis, headed by Jan Terje Andersen, is studying the cellular processes and molecular interplay underlying the functions of the two most abundant proteins in blood, albumin and IgG. By combining structural and biophysical approaches with cellular and in vivo studies, they use the insights to design novel albumin and antibody molecules with improved functions. The research group has now received a grant of 8.5 million NOK from The research Council of Norway (NANO2021 program) to expand their work on how such engineered ligands can be explored in combination with nanoparticles for tailored mucosal delivery. The project is entitled “A novel nanoparticle-based approach for mucosal delivery of therapeutics".
There were 61 applicants, of which two (including this application) obtained the highest possible rate. 


Professor Kjetil Taskén is presented as new director of the Department of Cancer Research at the Cancer Clinic, Oslo University Hospital

Kjetil Taskén
Kjetil Taskén

Taskén`s current position is Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine Norway – NCMM (merged with the Biotechnology center in 2017). He will begin in his position as Head of Department in January 2018.

Kjetil Taskén is 51 years old (born December 19, 1965), and he is a highly qualified and experienced research leader with very relevant background as head of a large unit for biomedical research (120-180 employees at NCMM).

Taskén is an active researcher who can be credited for a total of 269 publications, and well over 12,000 citations. He also holds an h-index of 59 within both basic research and translational research. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious King Olavs Vs Cancer Research Prize for his work on immunotherapy, a field of expertise that Taskén has been involved in ever since he started his research in 1994. Furthermore, he also leads one of six research groups in the KG Jebsen Center for cancer Immunotherapy (led by Johanna Olweus).


Nature Communications publication:

Pan-cancer analysis of homozygous deletions in primary tumours uncovers rare tumour suppressors

From left: Jiqui Cheng, Hege Russnes, Ole Chr. Lingjærde and Peter Van Loo
From left: Jiqui Cheng, Hege Russnes, Ole Chr. Lingjærde and Peter Van Loo

The authors demonstrate the power of meta-analysis to identify rare somatic variants in cancer, and they identify several copy number alterations of potential importance for tumor development in those affected. The paper contributes to the understanding of the diversity of evolutionary processes in cancer.
The study, published online in Nature Communications on 31 October, is collaboration between OUS, UiO and several international partners. First author Jiqiu Cheng from the Hege Russnes group at the Department of Cancer Genetics at the Institute for Cancer Research. The senior author of the paper is Peter Van Loo at the Francis Crick Institute in UK.

Summary of the findings  

Nature Communications publication:

A study of the epigenetics of breast cancer provides clues to mechanisms behind subtypes of the disease

Photo: Daniel Nebdal.<br>
(image capiton under
Photo: Daniel Nebdal.
(image capiton under "More")

Thomas Fleischer and Xavier Tekpli from the Cancer Genome Variation group,  lead by Vessela Kristensen at the Department of Cancer Genetics, IKF, together with their collaborators from the NCMM, Toni Hurtado and Anthony Mathelier, and Professor Arnoldo Frigessi from UiO identified methylated regions (CpGs) that show remarkably and reproducibly conserved patterns of association to gene expression in the DNA from breast tumors in three independent breast cancer cohorts. These patterns result in two main signatures (clusters), one reflecting infiltrating immune cell signatures and another related to estrogen receptor signalling. These results indicate that, in at least some forms of cancer, aberrant DNA methylation occurs not as chaotic stochastic process but is precisely regulated. 
The results were published online in Nature Communications November 9th .

More information, including press release  

Maria Torgersen receives a grant of 8.5 million NOK from NANO2021

Maria Torgersen
Maria Torgersen

Maria Torgersen, researcher in the group of Kirsten Sandvig in Department of Molecular Cell Biology, is presently working in NANOCAN, the national competence building project of nanomedicine including 10 research groups in Norway. Maria has now received a grant of 8.5 million NOK from The research Council of Norway (NANO2021 program) to continue her work with studies of the importance of autophagy in cellular responses to uptake of nanoparticles. The project is entitled “nanoAUTOPHAGY – health implications of nanoparticle-induced changes in autophagy”. The grant includes salary for 4 years for Maria and 3 years for a PhD student. There were 61 applicants, of which two (including Maria) obtained the highest possible rate.


Nature Communications article from OCBE:

Inequality in genetic cancer risk: Bad genes or bad luck?

Mats J. Stensrud (left) and Morten Valberg
Mats J. Stensrud (left) and Morten Valberg

Which factors increase the risk of cancer? What is the relative importance of heritable factors, the environment and randomness? Such questions often lead to discussions and speculations, which unfortunately tend to be imprecise. In a recent publication in Nature Communications, researchers Mats J. Stensrud and Morten Valberg from Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE) use statistical methods to quantify the distribution of genetic cancer risk in a population. Their results show that genes have a major influence on the risk of cancer. For 15 common cancers, the inequality in genetic cancer risk is larger than the inequality in income in the USA.


Rusten group uncovers new regulatory mechanism of the Peutz-Jeghers cancer syndrome kinase, LKB1

Team at Centre for Cancer Biomedicine behind the study
Team at Centre for Cancer Biomedicine behind the study

Structural breakdown of epithelial architecture is a cardinal hallmark of carcinomas - the most common forms of cancer.
Our cells contain tumor suppressor genes that act as gate-keepers to prevent tumor growth. One such classical tumor suppressor, Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1), was identified as being responsible for the hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. It has later been shown to be mutated in other cancer types, such as lung cancer.
Reporting this week in the prestigeous journal Nature Cell Biology (IF 20,6), O´Farrell and colleagues now reports that intracellular endocytic trafficking of LKB1 is essential to curtail Lkb1 activity from going rogue. In a surprising twist, they show that LKB1 can act to promote carcinogenesis, a role normally possessed by oncogenes.


Major study of genetics of breast cancer provides clues to mechanisms behind the disease


As part of the Oslo Breast Cancer Consortium (OSBREAC), surgeons, oncologist and Scientists from OUS have participated in the analysis of genetic data from 275,000 women, of whom 146,000 had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Seventy-two new genetic variants that contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer have been identified by a major international collaboration involving hundreds of researchers worldwide.
Of these variants, reported October 23rd in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics, 65 are common variants that predispose to breast cancer and a further seven predispose specifically to oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer – the subset of cases that do not respond to hormonal therapies.
The findings are the result of work by the OncoArray Consortium, a huge endeavour involving 550 researchers from around 300 different institutions in six continents of which OSBREAC is a part of.
The Principle Investigator of the Norwegian part of the study is professor Vessela N. Kristensen from the Department of Cancer Genetics at the Institute for Cancer Research.
The studies are covered by world-wide media channels, such as CNN.

More, including full press release  

Albumedix has signed research agreement with OUS and UiO on CIR research

Jan Terje Andersen

In a press release, the pharmaceutical company Albumedix (Copenhagen, Denmark) has announced that it has signed a strategic research agreement with Oslo University Hospital and University of Oslo. The three organisations will work together to improve understanding of the interaction between bioengineered albumin variants and the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn).
The research agreement is a result of a long collaboration between Albumedix scientists and Jan Terje Andersen and Inger Sandlie from CIR (UiO) and Department of Immunology (OUH).


CCB researchers uncover novel mechanism of cellular metabolic control

First author Zhi Hong (left) and last author Camilla Raiborg
First author Zhi Hong (left) and last author Camilla Raiborg

A protein kinase complex known as mTORC1 is known to control cell growth by upregulating anabolic processes and downregulating catabolism in response to growth factors and nutritional cues such as amino acids. Because mTORC1 signalling is an important driver of cancer development, we need to understand how this signalling is regulated.
mTORC1 signalling occurs from lysosome membranes and is regulated by the lipid kinase PIK3C3 and its catalytic product, phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P), but the mechanism has remained unknown. Now, postdoc Zhi Hong and her co-workers in Camilla Raiborg’s project group at the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Institute for Cancer Research have discovered that PIK3C3 and PI3P control mTORC1 activation by regulating lysosome positioning.


Breast cancer research highlighted by the Norwegian Cancer Society:

New additional treatment for breast cancer patients

Olav Engebråten
Olav Engebråten

The Norwegian Cancer Society present research they support regularly, in a popular science form.
Olav Engebråten from the Department of Oncology at OUH has recently (October 10th) been interviewed about The NeoAva study he is leading - a clinical breast cancer study for patients with tumors more than 2.5 cm in diameter, where treatment with bevacizumab is involved - a substance (antibody) that binds and removes one of the factors (VEGF) excreted from the cancer cells that may stimulate the growth of blood vessels. The treatment can therefore prevent blood vessels from growing into the tumor tissue, and enhance the effect of the chemotherapy in the tumor.


OUH research seminar, Monday, October 9th 14:30

Individualized cancer treatment


Welcome to the next Oslo University Hospital (OUH) research seminar entitled:
Individualized cancer treatment

Time: Monday, October 9th, 2017, at 14:30 – 16:00
Place: Blue Auditorium, Rikshospitalet, Sognsvannsveien 20, Oslo

Speakers: Kjetil Taskén, Eivind Hovig, Gunhild Mælandsmo, Arnoldo Frigessi, Yngvar Fløisand


Induced pluripotent stem cell research featured on Norwegian national news broadcast

Mathias Toft during NRK interview
Mathias Toft during NRK interview

A project involving the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from Norwegian patients with Parkinsons disease was recently featured on the evening news broadcast from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). This project - a collaboration between neurologist Mathias Toft, project group leader at the Department of Neurology at Oslo University Hospital and Gareth Sullivan, group leader at the Stem Cell Center - aims to generate neurons from the patient-derived iPS cells and to investigate disease mechanisms in these. The project is an example of the activities supported by The Neuron Factory platform at the Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research.


Tor Inge Tønnessen "Researcher of the Month" for September

T.I. Tønnessen
T.I. Tønnessen

The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Sør-Øst) has appointed Tor Inge Tønnessen from the Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Research Group at the Division of Emergencies and Critical Care at Oslo University Hospital as "Researcher of the month" for the month of September 2017.


Collaboration to identify novel biomarkers that can predict whether a patient will respond positively to pembrolizumab


The Norwegian bioinformatics company OncoImmunity and the Norwegian Cancer Genomics Consortium (NCGC) at Oslo University Hospital announce September 20th that they have entered into a collaboration with the American "Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration" (, to search for active neoantigens and related immune biomarker signatures of response in an American clinical trial on sarcoma patients treated with the PD1 immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab.

More, including press releases  

Sept 29th - Information day about EMBL, EMBO and HSPF:

Scientific opportunities in Europe


This event is open to all, and is designed to help inform Norwegian scientists about the training opportunities, services and infrastructure available at the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory). The meeting is sponsored by the EMBL Alumni Association, and has received funding from UiO: Life Science and the Research Council of Norway.  
Date & Time: 9am-6pm, Friday 29 September 2017
Location: University Library Auditorium 1, Georg Sverdrup Hus, Blindern, University of Oslo.

More information, including programme and registration form  

Jahre lecture Thursday September 14th

Inst. head H. Stenmark and Christer Betsholtz
Inst. head H. Stenmark and Christer Betsholtz

On Thursday September 14th The Institute for Cancer Research had the honour of hosting this year´s Jahre Prize winners for their lectures.
The lectures were by three of the leading scientists in the Nordic countries. The main prize winner (Christer Betsholtz) and one of the junior prize winners (Simon Bekker-Jensen) have their background in cancer research.

Photos from the ceremony and abstracts from the lectures  

Scandic Holmenkollen Park, December 4-6, 2017:

The Norwegian Cancer symposium 2017 on Precision Medicine


We would like to extend an invitation to The Norwegian Cancer symposium 2017 on Precision Medicine
It will take place at Scandic Holmenkollen Park, December 4-6, 2017 in Oslo, Norway.

The meeting gathers leading national and international speakers in the field of precision medicine, and topics include the following:

  • Computational Cancer Genomics
  • Tumor Immunology and the microenvironment
  • Single cell analysis for disease trajectories and Liquid Biopsies
  • Monitoring cancer genetics in body fluids
  • Translational and clinical genomics

There are still some few seats available.
Registration will close at Sunday November 19.

Overview of speakers and program  

Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale appointed Commander of the Royal Norwegian St. Olavs Order


His Majesty The King has appointed Professor Emerita Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale as Commander of the Royal Norwegian St. Olavs Order for her outstanding efforts in medical research.
The decoration was be presented at an event in the Research Building at Radium Hospital in Oslo August 28.

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