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Norway's Centre for Molecular Medicine to Study Disease Mechanisms, Personalized Medicine

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Oslo has formally marked the opening of the Centre for Molecular Medicine, which will focus on the molecular mechanisms of disease as well as personalized medicine.

The center, also known as NCMM, is designed to build on knowledge of the human genome and the tools of functional genomics, capitalize on Norway's existing molecular medicine research, and exploit biobanks and health registries in Norway and the Nordic nations.

Areas of research will include cancer, metabolic diseases, neurological diseases, infection and inflammation, and stem cells. Also, the center will focus on translational research, with the goal of bringing treatments to clinical practice.

"NCMM will develop and adapt technologies for personalized medical applications and will be expected to unravel new diagnostic methods and drug targets," the center said on its website. "Furthermore, NCMM will develop new therapeutic strategies for commercial exploitation and have a strategy that includes handling of intellectual property rights before interfacing with [the] biotechnology and bio-pharmaceutical industries."

NCMM operates from new laboratories and offices opened earlier this year at Oslo Research Park and the university's preclinical medicine buildings. The center's instrumentation and core facilities are shared with the university's Biotechnology Centre of Oslo and the Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, an RCN-funded Norwegian Centre of Excellence that studies the role of DNA repair and genome maintenance mechanisms in preventing neurological disease and brain aging.

Professor Kjetil Taskén, director of the Biotechnology Centre of Oslo at the University of Oslo, will head the NCMM. Taskén will oversee eight to nine research groups — three "founding" groups identified by the Research Council of Norway, and five to six groups to be headed by leaders 45 years of age or younger.

NCMM will be linked to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory through its involvement in the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, together with research groups in Umeå, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland.

The Research Council of Norway has allocated NOK50 million (almost $8.3 million) over a five-year period to the running of the centre and will provide an additional NOK50 million to the center should it prove successful, the university said in a statement.

NCMM is the second research center in Norway to form a partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. The first is the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology in Bergen.

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