Oncomatrix Research Lab

Principle Investigator
Professor Per Øyvind Enger
Office phone: +55 58 63 47
Email: per.enger@biomed.uib.no

OM_logoThe Oncomatrix Research Laboratory is located at the Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen,  and main areas of interest include CNS malignancies and tumor-stroma interactions. We will address questions that are timely, important, conceptual and generic to cancer. While we study brain tumors at a cellular and molecular level, our goal is to make lasting impact on a clinical scale. Thus, our lab is translationally biased, seeking to apply new insights in a patient setting.

The group encompasses postdocs, PhD students, MSc students, medicine students on a PhD research program as well as the group leader. We are a multidisciplinary team with complementary skills. Our capabilities span from molecular biology via pre-clinical studies to clinical validation.

We have established a panel of in vitro assays and in vivo models using primary tumour tissue, that enables us to address the multi-faceted challenges relating to cancer biology. We believe such tools are essential for generating clinically relevant data. Strikingly, few drugs  with anti-tumor efficacy in experiments are effective in patients. This suggests that many of the current models have little relevance to human cancers. Often, commonly used tumor cells have been propagated extensively in the laboratory, under artificial conditions very different from how tumours grow in patients. Accordingly, data obtained from such experiments can not be used to infer about patients.

We believe that clinically relevant data can only be obtained in clinically relevant models. Therfore, we have established orthotopic models from human biopsy material. The resulting xenograft tumours are highly representative of the human tumours from which it was derived. Therefore, they offer a unique opportunity to study various aspects of tumor biology such as infiltrative growth and angiogenesis. They are also highly reproducible and can therefore be used for reliable validation of drug candidates.

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Brain tumours established from human biopsies. (A) MRI demonstrates highly reproducible growth in four rats (#1-4) grafted with tumor  tissue from the same biopsy. MRI scanning at time points indicated. (B) MRI scans of 3 distinct phenotypes with different combinations of invasive and angiogenic growth. (C) Corresponding H/E tumour sections.