Interphase genetics

The Section is headed by Hanne Askautrud
The Section is headed by Hanne Askautrud

The number of cancer patients is steadily increasing, and successful cancer treatment requires a correct diagnosis, as well as biomarkers that predict prognosis and response to treatment. We have little, and no exact, knowledge about what distinguishes indolent cancer from a lethal one, and this is the overall research question at the Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics (ICGI).

The Institute combines the science of genetics and informatics to obtain new knowledge about cancer and to develop a new methodology for cancer diagnostics by focusing on the diff erences in DNA- and gene expression in tumour cells from indolent and lethal cancers. Whereas most genomic studies are performed on DNA or RNA isolated and extracted from the tumour tissue, due to the heterogenic nature of tumours, we prefer to perform our analysis directly in intact cells and tissues, which is where the informatics comes into play. We use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse DNA, its organisation and expression through high-resolution image analysis of the cells and tissue of the tumour.

The Section for Interphase Genetics focuses on nucleomics and large-scale genomic instability in cancer. We have established methods for mRNA analysis using the NanoString technology, immunohistochemistry, DNA Ploidy and Nucleotyping. With an emphasis on automation and high-throughput, we have a fully equipped histology lab, three automatic full-slide image scanners and seven fully automated high-resolution light microscopy systems for image analysis. The Section for Interphase Genetics is engaged in both research and routine diagnostics, and is currently performing DNA Ploidy analysis as a diagnostic service. We are in the process of establishing Nucleotyping and Histotyping in routine clinical diagnostics.

Around seventeen employees are working at the section daily, including the head of the section, a pathologist, two senior engineers, two postdocs, two department engineers, as well as nine people working in the Laboratory unit. In addition, a uropathologist, two clinical consultants, a health economist, and a professor at the Department of Biosciences at UiO are all associated with the section.