Why is it important to focus on stem cell research in the Western Norway health region?

Stem cell therapy is becoming increasingly important in clinical medicine. While the activities have so far focused on hematological and oncological diseases, regenerative medicine is now catching up fast (regenerative means treatment that leads to new cells being formed to replace lost cells and tissues). This will greatly increase the number of patients who can be treated.

​Nearly all clinical research in the field here in Norway is carried out under the auspices of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. The situation is somewhat more nuanced for basic research, but in the last allocation round for national stem cell research funds, no funds were granted to research groups in the Western Norway health region.
 
The ex vivo laboratory at Rikshospitalet University Hospital focuses strongly on growing cartilage, while the ex vivo laboratory at the Norwegian Radium Hospital leads the field in T cell research and cancer vaccines. This clearly illustrates the need for a greater effort in our health region. This initiative has been significantly strengthened by several research communities joining forces to form Bergen Stem Cell Consortium. BSCC will make active efforts to recruit partners throughout the region, and the consortium will change in step with this development.
 
Preparations for the building of an ex vivo facility at Haukeland University Hospital are under way. This means that there is a basis for clinical studies in stem cell research. BSCC will strongly contribute to improving cooperation between clinical and research activities, so that advanced personalized treatment can be implemented in the Western Norway health region.