Norwegian cancer researcher dedicated to clinical trials receives prestigious prize.
Professor Åslaug Helland is the recipient of the King Olav Vs Cancer Research Award 2023. Helland is an oncologist and Research Director at Oslo University Hospital (Comprehensive Cancer Centre).
“This is a great honour, and I am very happy about this recognition of the research environment involved. I have been very fortunate working with lots of very talented people over the years!” Helland commented.
The cancer prize is awarded annually by the Norwegian Cancer Society, and it is the highest honour for Norwegian cancer researchers.
The international experts that evaluated the nominated for the prize, emphasized how Helland through her clinical studies has contributed to developing a more personalised treatment for cancer patients.
Innovation for patients
When asked what the biggest challenge right now for the development of cancer diagnostics and treatments in Norway is, Helland responded:
“The developments in cancer diagnostics and treatment over the past few years have been very good, and we need to continue securing the competence and development in all health regions. It is in many ways a new field, and building competence takes time.
“In addition, we need to find ways to offer new and innovative treatments to our patients, and to encourage more clinical trials in Norwegian hospitals. This is an obvious goal from both the public health care system and from the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry, and by working together we achieve more!”
Leading the way for change
Helland is the Principal Investigator for IMPRESS-Norway, a national clinical study in cancer precision medicine, and Director of MATRIX, the Norwegian Centre for Clinical Cancer Research, as well as Leader for Nortrials. Helland’s key roles in these trailblazing initiatives show her commitment to continually improving cancer care.
“In the future, we have more options in diagnostics and treatment. The field is developing very rapidly, and the public healthcare system will develop to offer new and innovative treatments and diagnostics in a sustainable way. We also have improved decision support systems and improved follow-up programs for our patients,” said Helland.
Helland received the prize in the University Aula from His Majesty King Harald of Norway and in the presence of family, friends, colleagues and the general cancer research community.