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Successful NorTrials Meeting in Madrid

ESMO cancer congress is ongoging in Spain these days, and on Friday evening Norwegian clinicians and representatives from the international health industry met at the Norwegian embassy residence in Madrid.

Published 10/23/2023
Meeting participants at the embassy residence

This is the fifth international meeting arranged by NorTrials and Innovation Norway in connection with international congresses, where the aim is to showcase Norway as a preferred country for clinical trials. The first meeting was held a year ago, in Paris, during ESMO 2022.

The ESMO cancer congress is the world's second largest cancer congress, and is organized by the European Society For Medical Oncology (ESMO). Well-known Norwegian oncologists such as Åslaug Helland, Daniel Heinrich and Andreas Stensvold are all present at the congress in Madrid this week, and around 20 of them - from seven different hospitals in Norway - were also at the embassy meeting on Friday evening. There they met 30 Norwegian and foreign industry representatives from 17 different companies, as well as Norway's ambassador to Spain, Nils Haugstveit.

- Cancer is an important research area in Norway

Signe Fretland, head of NorTrials coordinating unit, gave an insight about what NorTrials is and how they work. She also showed the promo video Welcome to Norway.

- A summary from this year show that about 45 feasibilities have been received through the NorTrials feasibility portal, from about 20 different companies related to about 10 therapy areas. As much as 75 % of these requests are related to cancer trials, so this is definitely an important research area in Norway.


- Norway an ideal choice for clinical trials

Ambassador Nils Haugstveit was pleased that there were so many attendees, and with the common goal of more cancer trials in Norway.

- I would like to express my gratitude to every one of you for joining us from around the world. Your presence here is a testament to the collective commitment we share in the fight against cancer, a disease that continues to challenge us and demand innovative solutions. Norway's commitment to scientific excellence, coupled with its robust healthcare system, makes it an ideal choice for conducting cutting-edge clinical trials. We can offer state-of-the-art medical facilities, highly skilled healthcare professionals, and a patient-centric approach to care, Haugstveit said.

Norway's many assets

Åslaug Helland, head of research at the Cancer Clinic at Oslo University Hospital and head of the NorTrials center for cancer diseases, spoke in her speech about initiatives to optimize the implementation of clinical trials in Norway. Among the advantages, she highlighted the Cancer Register, the benefit of personal identification number and she talked about the major initiatives Impress Norway and CONNECT. She said that a lot has happened in precision medicine in the area of ​​cancer in the last couple of years.

- Through a joint effort, we now have publicly funded advanced molecular diagnostics for our patients. The analyses of more than 500 genes are reimbursed in the public health care system. The methodology is now scaling, aiming to be available for patients with advanced disease, so that new treatment options and clinical trials are realistic options for our patients. We also collaborate with several of the pharmaceutical companies present here today, Helland said.

Important contacs made

Many relevant professionals wanted to participate in the meeting, and for the first time in this series of meetings there was a waiting list. The organizers NorTrials and Innovation Norway, and the partners LMI, Melanor and Inven2, are pleased to have conducted another successful meeting. The conversation was lively for two hours, and new, important contacts were made.

- I hope and believe that some contacts and agreements were made tonight, and that it will materialize in more clinical trials in the cancer area in Norway, Signe Øien Fretland concluded.


Here you can read about previous embassy meetings:

NorTrials meeting in Milan

NorTrials meeting in Amsterdam

NorTrials meeting in Paris