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Preventing breast cancer in Norway

A new research project is exploring how polygenic risk score tests can be used for early detection and prevention of breast cancer in Norway.

Your genes can reveal more about your future than you might realise. New testing technology called polygenic risk scores provide a measure of your personal risk to develop a disease due to your genes.

The research project AnteNOR is exploring how these tests can be implemented in Norway to prevent and detect breast cancer earlier.

“We need tools for more precise screening. Many cancer risks come from our genetic dispositions, and we can identify individual risk levels for common cancers with personalized screening,” said Peeter Padrik, CEO of the Estonian company Antegenes, which offers clinical grade genetic tests for cancer precision prevention.

Breast cancer screening in Norway is done through the mammography programme, coordinated by the Norwegian Cancer Registry, and usually starts when a woman turns 50. However, 20 per cent of all breast cancer cases happen to women who are younger than 50 years old. Some of these women could benefit from taking the polygenic risk score test. 

“We are currently seeing a revolution in cancer diagnostics, treatments, and care. We believe personalised approaches have the potential to transform cancer from a deadly disease to a disease patients live well with. Identifying breast cancer early by using genetic tests is part of this revolution,” said Ketil Widerberg, general manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The project is a public-private collaboration between Antegenes, Oslo Cancer Cluster and some of Norway’s top cancer research and hospital environments at the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospital and Vestre Viken Hospital Trust.

The AnteNOR partners will together investigate how to create models for new screening programmes, where genetics-based screening can be used. The project also investigates how to implement these new approaches in the clinic and national health service.

The project has been funded by the Norway Grants Green ICT Programme and will be carried out in 2022-2023.