Partners in ECHoS work package 3 exchanged experiences and best practices across European countries in a virtual work-shop.

Six-month milestone

A Norwegian perspective: The foundations of the ECHoS project are laid and Cancer Mission activities are speeding up in Norway.

Over the initial six months of ECHoS, Oslo Cancer Cluster and its collaborators have made significant contributions towards achieving the project’s goals by increasing awareness and mobilising the Norwegian ecosystem for the EU’s Mission on Cancer.

With its early setup of the National Cancer Mission Hub in 2021, Norway is well-positioned to implement the Cancer Mission. Partners of the national hub are taking part in the European effort to establish similar structures in all member states and associated countries, under the ECHoS project.

“ECHoS provides an opportunity to explore new collaborative formats among stakeholders, including patients and citizens. It paves the way to establish novel partnerships across sectors and create opportunities to foster innovation in cancer care.” Marine Jeanmougin, Lead EU affairs and digital innovation in Oslo Cancer Cluster


Political discussions

Two public meetings were organised with politicians, experts, and representatives from different sectors in April and August. The debate revolved around the importance to commit to the Mission, how to use Missions as a tool for political change and how Norway can deliver on the Mission.

At the meeting Fremtidens kreftbehandling in April, key opinion leaders discussed how Norway should commit to the EU’s Mission on Cancer. Photo: Sofia Linden

Raising awareness

During The Economist’s World Cancer Series in Brussels, Ketil Widerberg, general manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster, moderated a panel discussion on cancer prevention. Clinicians, policymakers, and patient advocates discussed: How can equal access to screening be guaranteed? And what strategies can be implemented to adopt innovative methods for cancer detection?

Panel discussion with key opinion leaders at The Economist’s World Cancer Series in Brussel. Photo: Dave Tippett

Engaging stakeholders

Oslo Cancer Cluster recently conducted a working session on multistakeholder cooperation. Discussions addressed the possible challenges in establishing complex partnerships but also the opportunities offered by the mission approach to bring concrete solutions to cancer patients. The event fostered bottom-up thinking among ECHoS partners and tapped into the experience that participants have accumulated within their own ecosystems.

A cross-border, multi-national, virtual workshop with partners from ECHoS work package 3, work task 3, delved into new forms of collaboration towards the Mission on Cancer.

About ECHoS

ECHoS is a European project, funded by Horizon Europe Programme. It aims at supporting the implementation of the Cancer Mission activities in all Member State and Associated Country (MS/AC) through the establishment and development of National Cancer Mission Hubs (NCMHs) operating at national, regional, and local levels.

Read more on the ECHoS website.

The post Six-month milestone first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The panel discussion about implementing PRS tests included (from left to right): Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder of Antegenes, Solveig Hofvind, Head of the Mammography Programme at the Cancer Registry of Norway, Ole Alexander Opdalshei, Deputy Secretary General at the Norwegian Cancer Society, Lovise Olaug Mæhle, senior consultant at the Department of Medical Genetics at Oslo University Hospital and Ketil Widerberg, general manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster, as moderator. Photo: Wenche Gerhardsen / Oslo Cancer Cluster

Personalising breast cancer screening in Norway

Wenche Gerhardsen

Are polygenic risk scores the key to personalising cancer prevention in Norway?

Imagine that your saliva can reveal your personal risk for developing certain diseases. Think about the possibilities of detecting cancer at an early stage, preventing serious disease and saving lives. This is what polygenic risk score (PRS) tests are all about.

The AnteNOR project has investigated how such a test for breast cancer can be implemented in the Norwegian healthcare system. In a recent seminar at Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, researchers and experts met to present the results and discuss the way forward.

Watch the seminar here:


Analysing Norwegian data

Eivind Hovig, Professor at the Centre for Bioinformatics at the University of Oslo, and group leader at Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, has investigated the performance of breast cancer polygenic risk score in the Norwegian population.

Eivind Hovig, Professor at the Centre for Bioinformatics at the University of Oslo, and group leader at Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital. Photo: Sofia Linden / Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Denise O’Mahony, researcher at the Department of Medical Genetics, Institute of Medical Genetics at University of Oslo, supplemented Hovig’s presentation. Her research group has among other things analysed the distribution of polygenic risk scores in Norwegian data compared to Estonian data.

“By the age of 49 we see a total of 182 women that have a higher risk than the median absolute risk at 50, which is the age that women enter screening, therefore indicating the benefit of incorporating the PRS in clinical practice,” commented O’Mahony.

Denise O’Mahony, researcher at the Department of Medical Genetics, Institute of Medical Genetics at University of Oslo. Photo: Wenche Gerhardsen / Oslo Cancer Cluster.


Testing in the clinic

A clinical pilot study at Vestre Viken breast centre has evaluated the impact of implementing population-based genetic testing strategy for breast cancer precision prevention. There were 80 study participants aged 40-50 who took the saliva-based PRS test at the breast centre. Some of these women were ultimately recommended earlier screening or more intensive screening.

“Half of them were recommended to participate in standard screening. Almost half of them were recommended to start screening at an earlier age than 50. One was recommended to start annual mammography screening immediately,” said Tone Hovda, senior radiologist at Vestre Viken.

Tone Hovda, senior radiologist at Vestre Viken. Photo: Sofia Linden / Oslo Cancer Cluster.


Is this cost-effective?

As with any innovation, the tests come at a price. Kari Kollstad, health economist at Oecona AS, has developed a cost-effectiveness analysis of a polygenic risk-tailored breast cancer screening program in Norway.

“The preliminary results show that risk-stratified screening is more costly than current mammography screening, mainly driven by: costs associated with implementing the test and consultations, as well as screening costs. Risk-stratified screening also resulted in an increase in life years and quality-adjusted life years, and a redistribution of cancer cases compared to current mammography screening,” said Kollstad.

This means that while the tests come with a cost, risk stratified screening means that breast cancer can be detected at an earlier stage and that patients live longer.

Kari Kollstad, health economist at Oecona AS. Photo: Sofia Linden / Oslo Cancer Cluster


Towards individual-based screening

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion about how to implement PRS tests in clinical practice.

“As an oncologist with 33 years of experience, I have encountered numerous cases of advanced breast cancer in women of various ages. When analyzing their risks and individual stories, I realized that we could prevent most of these unfortunate situations. Breast cancer risks vary significantly among women, but our screening approaches are the same for all. It is crucial that we enhance the current real-world practices for breast cancer prevention and screening, especially considering the availability of innovative solutions,” commented Dr. Peeter Padrik, CEO and Founder of Antegenes.

The company Antegenes has developed novel polygenic risk score-based genetic tests to estimate the risk of common cancers.

Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder of Antegenes. Photo: Sofia Linden / Oslo Cancer Cluster

“I believe precision cancer prevention will be the right way for the future. We need to see what we can do to find more women with breast cancer that need to be treated,” commented Ole Alexander Opdalshei, deputy secretary general, the Norwegian Cancer Society.

“We have been doing mammography screening for 30 years now and using the same procedures and equipment, so it is definitely time for change. We need to go more personalised. We need more efficient tools and we need to consider if it is time to extend the age range targeted in the program. I think the Antegenes test could contribute to making BreastScreen Norway more personalized and better for women: if we could start inviting women 48 years old, test all women and plan a personalised screening for the women. It would be expensive, but perhaps cost-effective in the long run,” commented Solveig Hofvind, Head of the Mammography Programme at The Cancer Registry of Norway.


Project partners: Antegenes, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Vestre Viken.

This project is supported by the Norway Green ICT Programme.


The post Personalising breast cancer screening in Norway first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Three of the speakers during the CellFIT workshop in Trondheim last week (from left to right): Anna Pasetto, PhD, Director of the Center for Advanced Cell Therapy (ACT), Section for Cell Therapy, Division for Cancer Treatment, Cancer Clinic, Oslo University Hospital, Hanne Haslene-Hox, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, SINTEF, and Else Marit Inderberg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Group Leader, Head of Immunomonitoring, Department of Oncology, Cellular Therapy, Oslo University Hospital. Photo: Dave Tippett.

CellFIT workshop in Trondheim

How can manufacturing of T cell therapies be improved?

This was a key question at a workshop organised by the CellFIT project in Trondheim last week. The seminar brought together project partners and experts as they tried to address one of the biggest challenges for cell-based cancer therapy – efficient and scalable production.

“One of the key reasons why patients relapse after CAR T-cell therapy is that the therapeutic T cells do not persist in the patients after infusion. We know that patients that have cancer-reactive stem-cell like memory T cells respond better to treatment and these cells persist for a very long time, but these cells are rare. In the CellFit project we will optimize T cell manufacturing to produce more of these T cells for therapy.  OUS has a central role in CAR-T cell development and manufacturing, and can test this in patient T cells,” commented Else Marit Inderberg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Group Leader, Head of Immunomonitoring, Department of Oncology, Cellular Therapy, Oslo University Hospital.

ThermoFisher is one of the project partners and contributes with innovative reagents to ensure optimal growth factors for the cells.

“The Thermo Fisher Scientific team greatly appreciated the workshop and opportunity to meet face-to-face with the team and workshop participants. The presentations were of high quality covering important parts of cell therapy development from the development of novel CAR-T receptors, high-complex assays and initiatives to bring new cell therapies to patients via the ACT center. Already looking forward to the next workshop!” commented Tuva Holt Hereng, Senior Manager R&D Cell Therapy at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

State-of-the-art facilities

The day before the workshop, project partners were given a tour of the SINTEF Labs in Trondheim.

“It was great to welcome both the CellFit team and the workshop participants in Trondheim! Being close to the SINTEF labs a facility tour was a nice way to show some of the infrastructure used for high-throughput process development for the CellFit project. We also got great speakers that showed us the forefront of T-cell therapy development, which was both inspiring and very impressive,” commented Hanne Haslene-Hox, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, SINTEF.

Hanne Haslene-Hox, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, SINTEF gave a tour of the SINTEF labs in Trondheim. Photo: Dave Tippett

Public-private collaboration

To improve therapeutic efficacy, increased collaboration between manufacturers (industries) and patient treatment centers (hospitals) is needed.

“Supporting the scientists and stakeholders in the CellFit Project will help to assure that we reach collective goals. Oslo Cancer Cluster supports this project by providing advisory and opportunities for dissemination of knowledge to the wider oncology ecosystem,” commented Charlotte Wu Homme, Head of Membership and Events, Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Else Marit Inderberg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Group Leader, Head of Immunomonitoring, Department of Oncology, Cellular Therapy, Oslo University Hospital and Charlotte Wu Homme, Head of Membership and Events, Oslo Cancer Cluster. Photo: Dave Tippett

About CellFIT

The primary aim for the CellFit project is to define optimal growth conditions for improved manufacturing of therapeutically active T cells. Established in 2021 and funded by The Research Council of Norway, the CellFit Project is a collaboration led by Oslo University Hospital, Department of Cellular Therapy. The project includes project partners Oslo Cancer Cluster, SINTEF, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

For more information, please visit the CellFIT website.

The post CellFIT workshop in Trondheim first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster, er alt i alt ganske positiv til statsbudsjettet 2024.

Statsbudsjettet 2024

Her er de viktigste sakene i statsbudsjettet 2024 for Oslo Cancer Clusters medlemmer.

Vi har sett nærmere på statsbudsjettet for neste år, og funnet disse lyspunktene for våre medlemmer.

Ekstra til tidligfase

En gründerpakke på 220 millioner kroner ligger ligger bakt inn i statsbudsjettet. 70 millioner av disse kronene skal gå til å styrke Innovasjon Norges ordninger for etablerere og vekstselskap. I tillegg foreslår regjeringen å sette av 150 millioner kroner til investeringer i tidligfasebedrifter gjennom Investinor. Dette er gode nyheter, mener Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster.

– Offentlig støtte og såkornmidler er et viktig element i å utvikle ny norsk helsenæring, og satsingen er velkommen!

En liten justering og påminnelse er likevel på sin plass.

– Samtidig, med tanke på nye bioteknologiselskap innen kreft, trengs en kraftigere innsats om vi skal lykkes med å tiltrekke og utvikle ideene. Lange utviklingsløp krever betydelig risikoavlastende kapital i tidlig fase. For eksempel hentet nylig radiofarmasiselskapet ArtBio inn 250 millioner kroner bare på en første investeringsrunde, sier Ketil Widerberg.

Les mer om ArtBios første investeringsrunde i MedWatch.

Persontilpasset medisin

Et tilskudd på 110,9 millioner kroner foreslås videreført fra 2023 til persontilpasset medisin. Tilskuddet finansierer blant annet etablering og drift av nasjonalt genomsenter, infrastruktur for presisjonsdiagnostikk (InPred) og det nasjonale kompetansenettverket innenfor persontilpasset medisin (NorPreM). Ketil Widerberg mener at det er gledelig at persontilpasset medisin blir prioritert videre til neste år.

– Persontilpasset medisin er viktig for pasienter, som slipper mange bivirkning og får effektive medisiner. Det er også et område der vi i Norge er i forskningsfronten, har et innovativt samarbeid i det offentlig-private konsortiet CONNECT, og har lovende oppstartsfirmaer som Zelluna Immunotherapy og andre i vårt økosystem.

Les mer om CONNECT på konsortiets hjemmeside.

I en helhetlig satsing på persontilpasset medisin, er diagnostikk og spesielt gentester vesentlige ingredienser.

– Gentester burde satses på i større grad. 

Kartlegger helsekatapult

Tilskuddene til testfasiliteter for oppstartsbedrifter skal økes som et ledd i regjeringens politikk for en grønn omstilling av norsk næringsliv. Konkret vil det si 26 millioner kroner mer til testfasiliteter gjennom Sivas katapultordning i 2024.

Per i dag finnes fem sentre under katapultordningen. De dekker produksjonsteknologi, materialteknologi, digitalisering, hav og marin teknologi og fornybar energi. Det finnes ikke noe eget katapultsenter for helse, men helse var blant fire prioriterte områder i forprosjekter som ble gjennomført i 2019/2020 for ny utlysning av ordningen. I regjeringens veikart for helsenæringen, som ble lansert i august, ba regjeringen Siva, i samarbeid med Forskningsrådet og Innovasjon Norge, om å utrede hvordan helsenæringen i større grad kan få nytte av katapultordningen. Nå øremerkes to millioner statsbudsjettkroner til en slik kartlegging, som del av de nevnte 26 millionene til testfasiliteter. Ketil Widerberg er glad for det.

– Vi er glade for at helsekatapult blir prioritert, og ser frem til å jobbe med de andre helseklyngene for å realisere potensialet for at norsk forskning skal kunne bli til helsenæring og fremtidige industrieventyr.

Totalt får ordningene Norsk katapult og Grønn plattform 214,3 millioner kroner i 2024.

Regjeringens pressemelding kan leses her.

Helsenæring som eksport

Regjeringen foreslår å sette 94,7 millioner kroner inn på å fremme norsk eksport i 2024. Det er en økning på 45 millioner kroner, som et ledd i eksportreformen Hele Norge eksporterer, der helsenæring er ett av årets to nye satsingsområder, som blir lansert av regjeringen i løpet av høsten.

Budsjettpengene går først og fremst til Innovasjon Norges internasjonale satsinger, stiftelsen Norwegian Energy Partners (Norwep), arbeid med eksportprogrammet og profilering. De ulike eksportsatsingene presenteres som prosjekter i denne posten, og har ikke fått øremerkede midler.

Nasjonal kreftstrategi

Til neste år vil regjeringen presentere en oppdatert kreftstrategi, som også skal tre i kraft til neste år. Det følger ingen budsjettmidler med.

I den nye strategien skal ny kunnskap på kreftområdet ivaretas, samtidig som de fem overordnede målene videreføres fra nåværende strategi:

  • Norge skal bli et foregangsland for kreftforebygging
  • Norge skal bli et foregangsland for gode pasientforløp
  • En mer brukerorientert kreftomsorg
  • Flere skal overleve og leve lenger med kreft
  • Best mulig livskvalitet for kreftpasienter og pårørende

– Vi mener det er viktig å se på hvordan vi samarbeider for å nå målene, sier Ketil Widerberg.

Han understreker at ulike samarbeid må være en del av selve strategien.

– Vi har flere etablerte samarbeidsarenaer som vi må videreutvikle, som den norske mission huben, CONNECT-samarbeidet på presisjonsmedisin, og helseklyngesamarbeidet. Det er også rom for bedre samarbeid mellom norske og internasjonale institusjoner, mellom offentlige og private aktører, og på tvers av nasjonale siloer. Hvordan vi samarbeider må være en integrert del av en kreftstrategi – og en mulighet til å få til mer uten flere budsjettkroner, sier Ketil Widerberg.

Les mer om den norske mission huben på

Ny helseteknologiordning

Helse- og omsorgstjenestene skal bli enklere og mer brukervennlige. Derfor foreslår regjeringen 150 millioner kroner til en ny helseteknologiordning, og 100 millioner kroner til utvikling av digital samhandling i helse- og omsorgssektoren. En helseteknologiordning skal gi kommunene drahjelp for å investere i og ta i bruk helseteknologi. Kommunene kan søke om tilskudd for å skaffe digitale løsninger og finne leverandører.

– For kreftpasienter betyr det mye hva slags teknologi som er tilgjengelig der de bor, for å få en effektiv oppfølging etter kreftsykdom. Vi ser derfor frem til at en satsing på helseteknologiordning vil kunne bidra til bedre oppfølging av pasientene.

Til grunn ligger en ramme på 1,25 milliarder kroner over seks år for å gjennomføre de nasjonale tiltakene for digital samhandling. Her gjelder det å bruke pengene smart, og etablere det vi mangler innen helseteknologi.

– For å gjøre bruk av ny teknologi i helse, mangler vi etablerte prosesser, budsjetter og samarbeid om helseteknologi, slik som vi har på legemidler. Spesielt blir dette tydelig for digitale løsninger, sier Ketil Widerberg.

Andre kreftrelaterte bevilgninger

  • Tarmkreftscreeningprogrammet fortsetter med videreførte 215,1 millioner kroner.
  • Hjemmetest i livmorhalsprogrammet får 26 millioner kroner i 2024.
  • Hudkreftstrategien og UV-nettverket får 2 millioner kroner ekstra, som blant annet skal gå til oppmerksomhetskampanjer.


Vite mer om statsbudsjettet 2024? Du finner alle budsjettdokumentene på


The post Statsbudsjettet 2024 first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.