Clinical Cytogenetic and Molecular Analysis in a Research Perspective

A primary goal in the effort to understand how cancer occurs is to find out which genes characterise which cancers. The research interest of the field of cancer cytogenetics is primarily the identification of chromosomal aberrations in cancer cells. Our main research goal is to characterise and understand the acquired genomic aberrations that bring about a neoplastic transformation of susceptible target cells. The research is performed in parallel with diagnostic analyses of haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

At the cellular level, cancer is a genetic disease in that there are stable, acquired changes of the genetic mass in selected body cells that allow them to escape normal cell division control and become tumour cells. Many of these changes are visible microscopically as balanced chromosome aberrations where two chromosomes exchange material, i.e., translocations. Often the breakpoints of the chromosomes are found where such translocations have occurred, the formation of fusion genes with carcinogenic activity, i.e., activated oncogenes. Knowing the karyotypic changes of tumours is a fundamental goal in cancer biology. After all, the chromosome is an organisational level of unquestionable importance in the packaging of the cell’s genetic material.

The research begins by finding specific cytogenetic aberrations in various cancers. Then we take the investigation to the molecular level, searching for the corresponding changes in genes and DNA primary structure. This approach has shown to be successful in all three main research areas at our section for Cancer Cytogenetics:

This text was last modified: 18.08.2021

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Chief Editor: Tarjei S. Hveem, Interim Institute Director
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