Ketil Widerberg, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster, and Lena Nymo Helli, CEO of Norway Health Tech, receives the new Mature Cluster status from Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway. Photo: Tom Hansen

Oslo Cancer Cluster is a Mature Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster is happy to receive the status as a Mature Cluster in the Norwegian Innovation Clusters programme.

The news about the new status came during an event hosted by Innovation Norway on Monday 15 November 2021.

“This is an important part of the government’s politics to create profitable and attractive jobs around the entire country. The clusters have great importance for the companies that are part of them and for the local communities. When companies collaborate in this way, it is easier for them to join forces in research and development, share knowledge and competence. The clusters are tools to strengthen the adaptability of Norwegian businesses,” said the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre, according to a press release from Innovation Norway.

Read the press release here (in Norwegian).

The programme Norwegian Innovation Clusters is financed by The Ministry of Local Governance and Modernisation with 192 Million NOK in 2021. It is run by Innovation Norway, Siva and The Research Council of Norway. There are 44 clusters today.

Mature Cluster programme

The new mature clusters are already part of the programme Norwegian Innovation Clusters, and the mature cluster status is given to take advantage of the competencies and infrastructure that the clusters have developed over time. The goal is to allow for greater “industrial lifts” that contribute to the conversion and development of Norwegian industry.

In addition to Oslo Cancer Cluster, the clusters entering this arrangement today are Eyde Cluster in Agder, NCE Media in Bergen, and Norway Health Tech in Oslo. We wish to congratulate all the mature clusters and look forward to fruitful collaborations!

New Arena and Arena Pro Clusters

There were also new clusters added to the programme in this round. We wish to welcome Circular Wave and Energi i Nord as Arena Clusters, and Norwegian Offshore Wind Cluster, Ocean Hyway Cluster, Stiim Aqua Cluster and Norwegian Energy Solutions as Arena Pro Clusters.

Read more about the programme and the Arena and Arena Pro clusters at Innovation Norway’s webpage.

 

Digital symptom management is shown to improve patients’ quality of life. This is an illustration of what such a system might look like for the patient on a tablet. Photo: Kaiku Health

Collaborating on patient self-monitoring

Hands holding a tablet with a gridKaiku Health

Patients report their own symptoms in a new project at Ahus, in which the university hospital collaborates with Roche and Kaiku Health.

A new project with 15 lung cancer patients has started this fall at Akershus University Hospital (Ahus), one of Norway’s largest hospitals, just outside of Oslo. Both the patients and the hospital staff are testing a new digital patient monitoring and management solution from the Finnish health technology company Kaiku Health, where the patients themselves are to report their symptoms and health conditions.

The project is a successful collaboration between patients and hospital staff at Ahus, the company Roche, and Kaiku Health. They are all members of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Satisfied patients

“So far we have received almost only positive user experiences. Patients are only asked to log symptoms they have had and do not have to consider all kinds of possible symptoms they might have. That helps them and our impression is that the patients are satisfied with the self-logging tool we are testing,” said Anne Edvardsen, Project Leader and Department Leader at the Lung Department at Ahus.

Anne Edvardsen. Photo: Ahus

Kaiku Health is a digital health interventions platform that provides patient-reported outcomes, monitoring, and intelligent symptom tracking. Currently, it is used in more than 75 clinics in Europe and America, helping clinicians provide optimized care with early interventions and personalized patient support.

Digital symptom management

“Digital symptom management is shown to improve patients’ overall survival and quality of life. While cancer immunotherapy has been shown to advance treatment outcomes of for example lung cancer patients, it has also introduced a new kind of safety profile. Companion digital health solutions can optimize symptom management and timely education for patients. In addition, clinics benefit from the use of the service, as digital therapy support can optimize the use of healthcare resources as well as processes in the daily clinic routine,” said Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward, Global Strategic Sales Manager in Kaiku Health.

Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward. Photo: Kaiku Health/ Kajsas foto

In Nordlandssykehuset, a smaller hospital in the north of Norway, a similar digital patient monitoring, also from Kaiku, is already a part of the regular patient treatment.

“By providing digital symptom management along with the capture and analysis of real-world data, Kaiku Health paves way for more personalised and value-based healthcare,” said Ann-Sofie Andersson-Ward.

Testing in several stages

Roche aims to deliver their digital patient monitoring and management solutions in an open ecosystem approach in collaboration with various industry partners and solution providers, such as Kaiku Health, and has done a prior pilot project with Kaiku Health in Germany, Finland, and Switzerland.

The results from this first pilot were published in Journal of Medical Internet Research in December last year and show a high user satisfaction and improved clinical care besides other benefits and a few challenges. You can read the article here. https://www.jmir.org/2020/12/e18655/

“With our current collaboration with Ahus, Roche aims to deliver industry-leading Digital Patient Monitoring and Management solutions that improve outcomes that matter to patients, such as quality of life and overall survival, for individuals receiving therapy for advanced or metastasized cancers. This can be achieved by empowering patients to continuously report symptoms from any location using mobile solutions and enabling healthcare professionals to intervene early before symptoms worsen, tailor care plans, and make effective treatment decisions. By using solutions that are seamlessly integrated into clinical care, it would also optimise healthcare resource utilization. In addition, we’re also exploring user experience of the solution alongside understanding how we can support broad adoption and adherence to the solutions,” said Fabienne O. Villars, Country Medical Manager for Lung in Roche Norway, and adds that it is also an important project to explore local requirements and regulatory needs.

Woman in white jacket looking into camera

Fabienne O. Villars. Photo: Roche

The current project is named KAISER and will run until March 2022.

Better equipped to master symptoms

“An advantage is that we can monitor the patients during the entire treatment and systemize our experiences. This kind of monitoring of symptoms through digital platforms is important to increase the understanding the patients have of their own health. When they participate in monitoring their own symptoms and changes in symptoms, they are better equipped to master their symptoms, with assistance by healthcare professionals,” said Anne Edvardsen.

The patients can use the tool as a type of diary for symptoms from cancer treatment, like for example fatigue, and the care team can look for patterns to check if treatments are working well. The hospital staff is learning how to react to the reports and whether they should follow up with the patients more closely based on the reported symptoms.

Useful in the future

“It has been a good collaboration where everyone has contributed to solving this puzzle, which takes a lot of effort ensuring privacy and data security in a large hospital like Ahus,” said Anne Edvardsen.

“The work Ahus has done in collaboration with us will become useful in the future for sure –for other hospitals, companies, and for the patients themselves,” said Villars.

Read more

Inven2 has contributed to initiating the project in Norway and has written about it in Norwegian. Read the Norwegian article here: https://www.inven2.com/prover-ut-digitalt-verktoy-for-pasientoppfolging-i-kliniske-studier/

Cluster Collaborations

In this article series, called Cluster Collaborations, we want to highlight the fruitful collaborations in the cluster, underlining the very essence of what Oslo Cancer Cluster is all about, from cancer research to cure.

Carlos de Sausa, CEO of Ultimovacs. Photo: Ultimovacs

Ultimovacs to launch new clinical study

Picture of Carlos de Sause, CEO of ultimovacs

Ultimovacs announces a new clinical study in lung cancer.

 

The company’s fifth phase II combination study in lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer, NSCLC) is called LUNGVAC.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers globally and by far the biggest cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. The news of the new clinical study comes as we are entering the month of November, the “Lung Cancer Awareness Month”.

For patients with advanced lung cancer

An estimated 850,000 new cases of NSCLC are diagnosed each year, according to Ultimovacs. Most of these cases are metastatic patients, for whom the 5-year survival rate is around 7%.

“We see this new trial as a significant opportunity for Ultimovacs to make a difference to the lives of thousands of patients with advanced lung cancer,” said Carlos de Sousa, CEO of Ultimovacs, in the company’s press release.

Sponsored by Drammen Hospital

The LUNGVAC study will be a multi-center, randomized, open-label trial assessing the safety and efficacy of Ultimovacs vaccine candidate UV1 in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor cancer medicine pembrolizumab versus pembrolizumab alone in NSCLC patients with advanced or metastatic disease.

Checkpoint inhibitors are a type of immunotherapy. They block proteins that stop the immune system from attacking the cancer cells.  

Professor Odd Terje Brustugun will be the principal investigator for the study, which will be sponsored by Drammen Hospital in Norway. The study will enroll approximately 138 patients and will be conducted at 8-10 clinical centres in Norway. The first patient is expected to be treated in the first part of 2022. Data read-out from the trial is anticipated by the end of 2024.

Read more in the company’s press release at Oslo Børs.

A month of good news

This week, Ultimovacs also announced that they had a successful private placement, raising NOK 270 Million in a significantly oversubscribed round.

Last week, Ultimovacs reached a significant milestone by receiving a dual Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA Fast Track status is reserved for research programs focused on developing drugs that address severe medical conditions and fill an unmet medical need to accelerate promising treatments to patients with high unmet needs.

About the company

Ultimovacs is developing immune-stimulatory vaccines to treat a broad range of cancers. Ultimovacs’ lead universal cancer vaccine candidate UV1 targets human telomerase (hTERT), present in 85-90% of cancers in all stages of tumor growth. By directing the immune system to hTERT antigens, UV1 drives CD4 helper T cells to the tumor to activate an immune system cascade and increase anti-tumor responses. With a broad Phase II program, Ultimovacs aims to clinically demonstrate UV1’s impact in multiple cancer types in combination with other immunotherapies. Ultimovacs’ second technology approach, based on the proprietary Tetanus-Epitope-Targeting (TET) platform, combines tumor-specific peptides and adjuvant in the same molecule and entered Phase I studies in 2021. For further information, please see www.ultimovacs.com