Description of Research Group

The Tumor Biology Research Group conducts basic, para-clinical and clinical cancer research. The group’s main focus is on oral cancer, but the group members also study other types of cancers.

In addition to the NOROC study, a national study that includes the four head- and neck cancer centers in Norway, the Tumor Biology Research Group has a project on the role of the extracellular matrix protein Nephronectin in metastases of breast cancer, as well as projects on the regulation of certain proteolytic enzymes in homoeostasis and disease.

One of the projects in the research group involves regulation of matrix metalloproteases. This involves production of recombinant proMMP-9 and deletion variants of the enzyme. This is used in studies of complex formation between proMMP-9 and various extracellular matrix proteoglycans, such as serglycin and versican. In addition, MMP-9 and its
deletion variants are used in studies to reveal if sites outside the active site (exosites) are involved in the enzymes binding to specific extracellular proteins and present the protein to the active site of the enzyme. Detection of exosites are intended to be used to generate new inhibitors that only prevents the cleavage of a given substrate, not all MMP-9 substrates as is the case with inhibitors that bind to the zinc in the catalytic site of the enzyme.

The group consists of scientists with a wide range of expertise and research experience, including pathologists, dentists, head- and neck surgeons, molecular biologists and biochemists. The group’s complementary expertise is beneficial to many of the group’s research projects.

Some methods commonly used by our group members are cell culturing, cell counting, western blotting, RT-PCR, In situ hybridization, paraffin embedding, microtomy, slide and TMA preparation, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, laser capture micro dissection, Image J analysis, statistical analysis with SPSS, confocal microscopy and NGS.

Technology, expertise and equipment

Cell culture, protein production, recombinant production of enzymes in insect cells, enzyme purification, enzyme kinetics, inhibition kinetics, various zymography techniques, various techniques for detection of protein-protein interactions. Spectrophotometer and Fluorimeter for kinetic measurements, electrophoresis equipment for zymography, Western blotting, DNA and RNA separation and RT-PCR equipment.