Personalised cancer therapies (PERCATHE)

The convergence environment will develop a new approach to personalised cancer therapy, based on mathematical, statistical and biological methods. It will also study the ethical, societal and regulatory perspectives.

Consortium (from left to right)
Arnoldo Frigessi, Professor, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine & BigInsight (leader)
Kjetil Taskén, Professor and Director, Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM), Faculty of Medicine
Vessela Kristensen, Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Åslaug Helland, Professor II, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Alvaro Köhn-Luque, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine


Primary objectives

  • Develop a new approach to personalised cancer therapy, based on a mix of in silico mathematical models and simulations, drug synergy statistical predictions, ex vivo cancer drug sensitivity and resistance screening, in vivo testing in patient-derived xenograft models and ethical, societal, regulatory perspectives.
  • Develop new methods in transdisciplinary science which allow implementing PERCATHE. Publish at highest international level.
  • Implement PERCATHE’s pipeline for breast and lung cancer and B cell malignancies, leading to a clinical protocol.
  • Form an outstanding team of scientists playing an internationally leading role in personalised therapy.

Secondary objectives:

  • Train 2 PhD students and 1 postdoc (plus others) to a scientific career in precision medicine.
  • Evaluate PERCATHE’s innovation potential. If actual start process towards commercialisation (Inven2).
  • Offer to other UiO researchers, scientific advising in methods and tools for precision medicine, in particular statistical, mathematical and computational approaches.
  • Involve and inform stakeholders and patients, and society at large.
  • Contribute to the success of UiO:Life Science as a radically innovative academic arena.


PERCATHE shall develop new, powerful and frontiers-breaking methods to build an innovative and practicable pipeline for individualised precision treatment of cancer, employing unprecedently interweaved sciences, technologies and theories, to give to the most difficult cancer patients each the best personalised cure.

Differently from other approaches, which aim for a fine stratification of patients or exploit natural language processing to summarise existing knowledge, PERCATHE’s idea is to inform ex vivo drug sensitivity testing of cancer patients’ cells with a combination of (i) drug synergy predictions based on genomic profile of patients, (ii) mathematical models of cancer multiscale and multitemporal processes and (iii) patient based inference of cancer characterising parameters, exploiting medical imaging and genomics.

Focus on breast and lung cancers and on B cell malignancies where PERCATHE has strong clinical collaborators. PERCATHE covers all four RRI dimensions, anticipatory, reflective, deliberative, responsive; it represents a test-bed for regulations and legal principles; it challenges ethical and health economic considerations. PERCATHE is ambitious but feasible: it exploits existing competence and infrastructure.


  • UiO:
    • Faculty of Medicine:
      • Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE), Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
      • Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM)
      • Institute of Clinical Medicine  
    • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences:
      • Department of Physics
      • Department of Mathematics
      • Department of Informatics 
    • Faculty of Humanities:
      • Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
    • Faculty of Law:
      •  Department of Public and International Law
  • Oslo University Hospital (OUS): Department of Haematology; Institute for Cancer Research; Department of Oncology; Medical Physics
  • Simula Research Laboratory

Other key collaborators from UiO and elsewhere

  • Andrea Cremaschi, NCMM, UiO
  • Anna Smajdor, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, UiO
  • Anne Kjersti Befring, Department of Public and International Law, Faculty of Law
  • Aslak Tveito, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Camila V. Esguerra, NCMM
  • UiO Eirik Malinen, Department of Physics, UiO
  • Eivind Hovig, Department of Informatics, UiO
  • Fredrik Schjesvold, Department of Haematology, OUS
  • Geir E. Tjønnfjord, Department, OUS and Institute of Clinical Medicine, UiO
  • Gunhild Mælandsmo, Institute for Cancer Research, OUS
  • Hege Russnes, Institute Cancer Research, OUS
  • Hesso Farhan, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, UiO
  • Judith Staerk, NCMM, UiO
  • Jukka Corander, OCBE, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, UiO
  • Ludvig A. Munthe, Institute of Clinical Medicine, UiO
  • Manuela Zucknick, OCBE IMB, UiO
  • Marie E.Rognes, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Odd T. Brustugun, Drammen Hospital, Cancer Research and OUS
  • Olav Engebråten, Department of Oncology, OUS
  • Riccardo De Bin, Department of Mathematics, UiO
  • Therese Seierstad, Oncology, Medical Physics, OUS
  • Valeriya Naumova, Simula Research Laboratory
Published May 4, 2017 1:21 PM - Last modified Jan. 8, 2021 10:47 PM