NOK 10 million for liver cancer research

NOK 10 million for liver cancer research

January 6, 2016
Head of Communication

A new type of immunotherapy against liver cancer is so promising that Norut has been granted nearly NOK 10 million to continue the research.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that involves stimulating the body’s immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells. So-called oncolytic peptides, which are a chain of amino acids, form the basis for this new type of immunotherapy against cancer. The injection of these peptides into a tumour releases signals that stimulate the immune system. Moreover, the process activates a large amount of the patient’s own antigens, which in turn strengthens the fight against the cancer tumour.

Based on PhD

Over the next three years, Norut Research Scientist Johannes Eksteen will lead a major research project entitled “Verifying a New Generation of Oncolytic Peptides as Cancer Immunotherapeutic Agents for Deep-Seated Tumours”.

The project builds on Eksteen’s PhD project, in which he identified a new generation of peptides for immunotherapy.

The goal of the project is to confirm that this new group of peptides has an effect against liver cancer, alone as well as in combination with existing immunotherapeutic agents, without having an adverse effect on the patient’s blood pressure.

In the best case scenario, the result can lead to a new treatment for liver cancer. Liver cancer is difficult to treat and has a high mortality rate.

Collaborating with cancer researchers

Norut is collaborating with two research groups at the Oslo University Hospital. These groups are headed by Pål-Dag Line and Gunhild Mælandsmo. Another important participant in the project is a research group at the French research institute Inserm, which is headed by Professor Guido Kroemer.

Lytix Biopharma, which has extensive experience in research on the use of peptides in immunotherapy, is also participating in the current project.

Norinnova Technology Transfer, which deals with the commercialisation of research-based innovation, describes the project as one of the most exciting it has been involved in. Norinnova is handling the commercial aspects of the research project.

The Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Cancer Society have jointly allocated NOK 9,461,000 to the project. The project, which is being led by Norut's division for Biotechnology, is one of seven projects researching new methods for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. These projects will jointly receive NOK 56 million over the next three years.

The Research Council of Norway: Nye metoder for diagnostikk og behandling av kreft (in Norwegian only)

The Norwegian Cancer Society: Lovende kreftforskning raskere ut til pasientene (in Norwegian only)