Cooperation as a success factor
Researchers at the three institutions have different approaches to this thematic area and will work closely together, in part because the hospitals have the same state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment allowing simple exchange of information. This equipment has been partly financed by private donations from Trond Mohn to the university hospitals in Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø. The two foundations are helping to add further value to these donations by way of this major research initiative. The institutions themselves have developed their respective projects in cooperation, and the foundations have found them worthy of support, not least due to the major benefits they can bring about for cancer patients
With identical diagnostic imaging equipment in place, everything is set for sharing methods and procedures between researchers in Tromsø, Trondheim and Bergen, and sharing knowledge and data from the respective specialist fields can also help to enhance the projects.
To target their efforts under this collaboration programme, the research communities in the three cities have selected their respective focus areas. Tromsø will take preclinical trials as their point of departure, while Trondheim will base its work on clinical trials. Bergen will build on its experience of developing radioactive tracers (radiotracers). After two rounds of evaluation of the project applications by a panel comprising leading national and international experts, the foundations decided to award NOK 25 million to each of the three projects. A further NOK 5 million will go to further strengthening the national and international collaboration. The research programme will start up in 2019 and run until 2024.
Projects coordinated from three cities
The project at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, led by Associate Professor Tom Christian Holm Adamsen, will focus on chemical innovation to increase the number of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools available in nuclear medicine, a medical specialisation that uses open radioactive substances in diagnostics and therapy.
The project at the PET centre in Tromsø, led by Associate Professor Rune Sundset, will comprise preclinical research using cancer cells and mice. Radiopharmaceuticals for use in PET (positron emission tomography) and nuclear medicine will be tested in the new pre-clinical facilities at the PET centre in Tromsø using state-of-the-art infrastructure for pre-clinical research in nuclear medicine and radiation biology.
The project in Trondheim, led by Professor Tone Bathen at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), will work on developing and documenting optimal diagnostics and treatment. This will be done by conducting multi-centre studies based on large and relevant patient groups, such as patients with prostate cancer, brain tumours and dementia.
In addition to each of the projects involving researchers from all universities and university hospitals in Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø, Stavanger University Hospital will also participate as a partner in one of the projects.
– Something we need more of
–Norway needs high-quality research to create better services, treatment and patient services going forward,’ said former Director General of the Research Council of Norway John-Arne Røttingen. ‘To achieve these goals, we need both public and private funding. I think it is excellent that private actors and foundations such as Trond Mohn and Tromsø Research Centre help to enhance health research by stimulating collaboration across disciplines and regions. This is something we need more of, Røttingen said.
– Will make a difference
The Trond Mohn Foundation and Tromsø Research Centre want to make a real difference in terms of both discipline development and the patient treatment of the future, something this programme undoubtedly has the potential to do,’ said Stener Kvinnsland, chair of the Trond Mohn Foundation.
‘We hope the foundations’ initiative can encourage greater collaboration between Norwegian expert communities in this field for the benefit of patients, and look forward to following these research projects,’ said Sveinung Hole, CEO of the Trond Mohn Foundation and chair of Tromsø Research Centre.