Centre for Cancer Biomarkers

Highlights 2020

The project's contribution to the Centre for Digital Life Norway annual report 2020.

Cancer is a complex disease that has a huge impact on society. The purpose of CCBIO is to discover, validate and apply biomarkers to improve the understanding of cancer biology, increase diagnostic precision and improve targeted treatment in a cost-effective and socially responsible way. CCBIO has a focus on the interaction between tumour cells and the supporting microenvironment.

During 2020, our research focused on how cancer cells instruct their microenvironment, making tumours more aggressive. Signal pathways regulated by proteins such as Stathmin, Nestin, Prosaposin and Axl are involved in such processes that, among other effects, influence tumour immune responses.

One of the highlights in 2020 has been the establishment of new technology, imaging mass cytometry, to perform deep tissue profiling and multimarker characterisation of tumour tissue landscapes. By this approach, complex tumour-microenvironment interactions important for disease progress can be explored and modelled. Of particular interest, tumour immune systems are in focus. The results are correlated to tumour behaviour and how well patients respond to immunotherapy and other treatments. Clinical studies have been organised with innovative biomarker analysis programs (anti-Axl; cryo-immunotherapy; single-cell protein markers and adaptive therapy).

CCBIO has extensive international collaboration and an "international faculty" with 14 world-leading scientists. Our extensive educational efforts are executed by the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies. During 2020, multiple web-based courses and seminars have been conducted with very high attendance and significant international participation.

CCBIO is inherently transdisciplinary as its research spans the full translational spectrum supported by bioinformatics and addresses ethical and economic aspects of biomarker use in modern cancer medicine. Membership in the DLN network is a significant added value for CCBIO to further expand our perspectives and collaborations.

Deep Tissue Imaging: Molecular micro-cosmos in breast cancer. The picture shows cancer cells in active growth (white colour) and a complex micro-environment with various immune cells (blue, green, turquoise), blood vessels (yellow) and connective tissue (red). The technique is based on «imaging mass cytometry» (Hyperion Imaging System). Photo: Kenneth Finne & Lars A. Akslen/CCBIO Copyright: CCBIO


PhD candidates 2020

Martin Pilskog, UiB
Predictive biomarkers for response to treatment with sunitinib in renal cancer patients

Jahedul Alam, UiB
Novel Insights into Integrin α11 Expression and Function

Hilde Renate Engerud, UiB
Molecular markers to predict prognosis and guide therapy in endometrial cancer

Caroline Benedicte Nitter Engen, UiB
Exploring the boundaries of precision haemato-oncology: The case of FLT3 length mutated acute myeloid leukaemia

Tone Hoel Lende, UiB
Proliferation in operable breast cancer: Aspects of prognostication and relevance of carbohydrate metabolism 

Tormod Karlsen Bjånes, UiB
Drug delivery in pancreatic cancer: Quantitative studies of gemcitabine and sonoporation in patients and cell line models

Harsh Nitin Dongre, UiB
Biomarkers and preclinical models for more precise diagnosis and personalized treatment of oral and vulva carcinomas (not available online)

Yaping Hua, UiB
Discovery and characterization of novel STAT3 and androgen receptor inhibitors in prostate cancer cells on (summary, full-text not available)

Hanna Elisabeth Dillekås, UiB
Importance of physical trauma on recurrence of breast cancer: Can tissue trauma synchronize growth of dormant micrometastases?

Ragnhild Haugse, UiB
Molecular mechanisms of sonoporation in cancer therapy: Optimization of sonoporation parameters and investigations of intracellular signalling (summary, full-text not available).

Nazar Gafar Abdulrahman Mohamed, UiB
Biomarker Identification in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Study on Cohorts of Patients from Sudan (not available online)

Sissel Dyrstad, UiB
A study on metabolic rewiring in cancer cell plasticity

Ehsan Hajjar, UiB
Next generation leukemia diagnostics and therapy through p53 isoforms (not available online)

Video made for Digital Life 2020 – the annual conference of the Centre for Digital Life Norway

Scientific publications 2020: 86

Project overview

Project lead: Lars A. Akslen
Institution: University of Bergen

Research group

The eight research groups participating in Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO) perform basic and translational cancer research. Several teams generate large data sets, and use digital tools to handle and evaluate these. The data can be used to model cancer development and progression, and to identify novel biomarkers and targets for improved diagnosis and treatment. 

Innovation: The scientists at CCBIO develop algorithms to improve diagnostic tools and treatment strategies in cancer.

CCBIO is a centre of excellence, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Bergen.

Project website.

Watch project video

Video made for the Digital Life 2020 conference.