Norway leading the pack in cancer
With a bold approach, including next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) and state-of-the-art biobanking systems, Norway is pushing forward personalised cancer treatments in its national health care system. Clinical-quality genome sequencing still isn’t widely used yet, but the country has already begun tracking every patient diagnosed with carcinoma. In mid-February, the Research Council of Norway launched a new programme to couple analysis results with data from health surveys and registers. “The main objective of the programme is to develop research-based knowledge about human health and disease through better use of human biobanks and health data as unique resources,” said Rolf Bergen, who chairs the programme. Norway has a head start in using NGS to look for tumour mutations in the clinic. Projects underway in the UK and elsewhere still use conventional genetic testing, but that might change soon. China’s BGI, the world’s largest genomics centre, has opened its first European Genome Research subsidiary in Copenhagen (Denmark). Kicked off at the beginning of February, the institute is the cornerstone of a collaboration between BGI and top Danish research institutes. “The vision is to create the best facilities in the field for genomics and bioinformatics,” said Thomas Bjønholm from the University of Copenhagen, who wants to begin development on a vaccine against cancer.