Kjetil Taskén is awarded the UiO innovation prize

May 8, 2023 13:51
Last Edited:
May 8, 2023 14:22
This year's award winners: Kjetil Taskén, Cathrine Moe Thorleifsson, Dag Kristian Dysthe, Mareile Kaufmann and Øystein Linnebo. Photo: UiO / Øystein Horgmo / Senter for grunnforskning / Karoline Kvellestad

The University Board at the University of Oslo (UiO) annually awards prizes to scientific staff for outstanding efforts and results. Kjetil Taskén receives this year's innovation prize, and he is awarded the prize for his instrumental work in building up precision cancer medicine in Norway. We congratulate Kjetil Taskén on this well-deserved recognition. He receives the innovation award during UiO's annual celebration in September.

The University of Oslo writes the following about the prize winner:

Professor Kjetil Taskén is awarded the innovation prize for his work on building a national network for precision diagnostics in cancer (Infrastructure for precision diagnostics, InPreD). In 2018, Norwegian cancer patients did not have public access to advanced molecular cancer diagnostics with treatment options that use a precision medicine approach. Precision medicine, or personalized medicine, tries to find treatment that is adapted to the individual patient. The work led by Taskén has contributed to the fact that there today is a public national cancer diagnosis initiative (InPreD) and a national clinical trial (IMPRESS-Norway). Kjetil Taskén led the work investigating what had to be implemented to introduce precision medicine in Norway. The method used to obtain public access to advanced molecular cancer diagnostics was a coordination of various specialist environments on a national level. This coordination is a great success and has triggered significant funding. Furthermore, the way this has been resolved in Norway has generated considerable international interest.

Kjetil Taskén is grateful for the recognition, but emphasizes that the development of precision cancer medicine in Norway is the result of a team effort.

This is a prize to everybody who has been involved in building a national initiative for implementation of precision medicine in cancer”, says Taskén after UiO announced the award winners.

In addition to the innovation prize, UiO is handing out four other prize for research, education, dissemination as well as a prize to a young researcher. More information about the 2023 prize winners (in Norwegian only).

We are highlighting UiO's very best researchers, communicators and teachers through these awards. This year's five award winners show that long-term, targeted and hard work contributes to increased competence and knowledge which benefits all of us", says UiO rector Svein Stølen.

Åslaug Helland, head of IMPRESS-Norway and recent winner of this year's King Olav V's cancer research prize, has worked closely with Kjetil Taskén for a number of years and is very happy that Taskén is now being awarded the innovation prize.

“Kjetil has been instrumental in the implementation of precision cancer medicine in Norway, and we are very happy about this award! Over the recent years, diagnostics through InPreD has been established, the IMPRESS-Norway trial has included 1000 patients, and CONNECT is an important forum for interaction between public and private actors. Moreover, Taskén has contributed significantly to raise awareness internationally regarding the work done in Norway”, says Helland.

In the last couple of years, targeted work has been performed to implement precision cancer medicine at a national level in Norway, and a separate ecosystem has been funded and built up since 2019 to be able to offer cancer patients systematic use of molecular diagnostics and precision medicine, including:

  • InPreD – a national network for precision diagnostics. This infrastructure includes all six university hospitals in Norway that use advanced molecular diagnostics, which are subsequently reimbursed by the public healthcare system.
  • IMPRESS-Norway – a national researcher-initiated clinical trial opened in April 2021, which contributes to targeted cancer treatment based on precision diagnostics. All 17 hospitals in Norway with cancer departments participate in this trial.
  • CONNECT – a public-private partnership with 30 partners, driving the implementation of precision cancer medicine in Norway.
  • INSIGHT-INCLUDE – a cluster which, among other things, looks at health economics and reimbursement models, ethics, statistics, legal aspects and management in relation to precision medicine in cancer treatment.
  • MATRIX – the Norwegian Centre for Clinical Cancer Research, established in 2022.

An overview of the Norwegian precision cancer medicine initiatives was published in Nature Medicine in 2022: Taskén K. et al. Anational precision cancer medicine implementation initiative for Norway. Nat Med. (2022) DOI: 10.1038/s41591-022-01777-4

The extent of building a national initiative is illustrated by the fact that the most central contributors are included as co-authors on the publication, amounting to a total of 117 co-authors.

Kjetil Taskén is head of Institute for Cancer Research at the Oslo University Hospital and Professor at Institute for Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, UiO. In addition, he is the Vice President and Head of the Natural Sciences Division of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Finally, Taskén is heading his own research group in cell signalling and immune regulation.

Read more >

Image Gallery

No items found.