May 17, 2022

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The medical ‘Hubble Telescope’ can find the answer to the cancer mystery – NRK Westland

With the naked eye it is not possible to see what is on the small glass stick, chief engineer, Kenneth Finn, feeding in the large boxes in the laboratory building at Haukeland in Bergen.

Within an hour, the molecular microscope interpreted the cancer cells in the sample in the smallest detail, unlocking a value previously hidden from researchers.

Now they can see in a completely different way how a tumor forms.

unique cancerous tumors

Tumors are as unique as humans. They especially need to adapt the treatment so that we can control them, says Lars-Andreas Axelen.

He is a professor and cancer researcher and leader of the Center for Research in Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO) at the University of Bergen.

Lars A. Akslen rents out the Cancer Biomarkers Center at UiB

Photo: Oddgeir Øystese / NRK

Akslen believes that the super microscope could be a revolution in cancer research, as the Hubble telescope has been in space exploration.

In the long term, researchers believe such an analysis would be common to everyone with cancer. But it is still time consuming and cumbersome.

Important search tool

The technology is developed in Switzerland. The University of Bergen was the first in Northern Europe that I used about three years ago.

It is indeed an important tool in the search for cancer mysteries.




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CCBIO recently received NOK 8 million from the Norwegian Cancer Society for its research project.

In a lab in another Hoakland town, postdoctoral fellow Heidrun Vethe grows tumors from breast cancer.

Heidrun Vethe Postdoctoral Fellow at CCBIO

At CCBIO, they transplant cancer cells to find out the secrets they have.

Photo: Oddgeir Øystese / NRK

– Today it is undesirable to distinguish between several types of breast cancer, and to find a way to treat them. This is what I hope to find now.

The microscope gives them opportunities to study tumors in an entirely new way.

We focus on what happens when tumors grow in nerves, Axelen explains.

There are many indications that they changed their behavior at that time. It can tell us what makes a form of cancer aggressive.

More detailed map

In the laboratory building, Finne received an answer from the device.

One millimeter became about 10 centimeters on its screen.

– Before we can see four signs, four information points. We can now see more than 40 tags and millions of points. So it is a revolution.

The map of cancer cells becomes more detailed with new technology. Perhaps it will help researchers solve some of the mysteries that have been linked to cancer.

Chief Engineer Kenneth Fenn, CCBIO

Chief Engineer Kenneth Fenn.

Photo: Oddgeir Øystese / NRK

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