Keeping fit to fight cancer

Inger Thune’s work and collaborations in the US

Norwegian and American scientists meet at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (a.k.a. "the Hutch") . From left:  Anne McTiernan and Karen Makar from the FHCRC with Norwegians Vidar Flote, Anita Iversen,  Anne-Sofie Furberg and Inger Thune.  (Photo: Inger Thune)

Norwegian and American scientists meet at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (a.k.a. "the Hutch") . From left: Anne McTiernan and Karen Makar from the FHCRC with Norwegians Vidar Flote, Anita Iversen, Anne-Sofie Furberg and Inger Thune. (Photo: Inger Thune)

John Erik Stacy

Prevention and Prognosis

What does exercise have to do with avoiding cancer? Dr. Inger Thune from Norway is an expert on this subject, and she works closely with other scientists in Norway and the USA to learn more about how cancer can be avoided and how best to treat cancer patients. Research has shown clearly that exercise helps prevent cancer and can improve outcomes for cancer sufferers. Inger and her collaborators are working to better understand the exercise-anticancer connection.

Harvard, Hutch and Hope

As part of her work, Dr. Thune was in the US in early January 2010 to meet with colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Research Center and at Harvard University. At “the Hutch” in Seattle, Inger met with to Dr. Anne McTiernan and her group. McTiernan and Thune have a long time collaboration that includes the exchange of students. In Boston, Inger met with Harvard’s Professor Peter T. Ellison, who pioneered methods for measuring body hormone levels. Inger has another important US connection in Dr. Leslie Bernstein, the Directory at Cancer Etiology at the City of Hope near Los Angeles. Dr. Bernstein currently hosts post doctoral researcher Aina Emaus from Northern Norway (Burfjord) as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar.

Good Data Sets from Norway

Top level research is always an international affair, and collaborations in the US are one of the ways Norway is connected to the world research community. Part of what Norway has to offer are studies that provide good data from well defined populations. These data are gathered from thousands of participants in rural communities in Norway and often represent nearly complete participation. Not only are the data sets large, but measurements are on a multitude of parameters and taken over decades, making it possible to follow trends and developments within the groups. It is not surprising then, that researchers in America are interested in collaborating and applying their expertise, special tools and techniques to these excellent data sets.

EllisonFurbergFlote

Harvard professor Peter T. Ellison (center) with Anne-Sofie Furberg and Vidar Flote (Photo: Inger Thune)

AinaEmausBernsteinCityOfHope

Aina Emaus from Norway with Professor Leslie Bernstein from the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California.

Colleagues and Students

Inger, together with her close colleague Dr. Anne-Sofie Furberg from the University of Tromsø, are among the major players in Norwegian cancer research. They have created lasting synergies with long term implications. Many of the projects involve students and protégés (like Aina Emaus in Dr. Bernstein’s lab and Ph.D. student Anita Iversen with Dr. McTiernan) that will continue to “carry the torch” and influence the field far into the future.

This article was originally published in the Feb. 19, 2010 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe, call us toll free (800) 305-0217 or email subscribe@norway.com.

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