The TRYTRAC program, an advanced training series, aimes at Cancer Core Europe’s translational researchers in their early career stage.

The next generation research leaders are offered to deepen their learning about each Partner site and its state of the art research and technology. The aim is to build a strong future community network to seize opportunities of ideas from each Partner, and together turn them into collaborative projects. We further aim at enhancing sustainability of the consortium but also, importantly, to ultimately benefit patients. Each Partner hosts one advanced 3-day workshop, focusing on a selected theme and presenting the strength of the hosting center, allowing the participants to learn from each other and from the best practice within the consortium. Leadership is a reverberating theme throughout all the workshops.

TRYTRAC workshop at Karolinska Institutet – December 2-4, 2021

After a first successful virtual workshop in April 2021 in which the fellows of the TRYTRAC program presented their research work and scientific profile, the first physical TRYTRAC workshop took place in December 2021 at Karolinska Institutet (KI). The themes of the workshop led and organized by Ingemar Ernberg and colleagues were “Precision Cancer Medicine (PCM) Beyond Genomics, Biomarker Discovery and Cancer Epidemiology”.

The meeting commenced by discussing the challenges for cancer care in Europe with Ulrik Ringborg. He was followed by Rickard Sandberg who introduced the fellows to the prospects of single cell technologies for PCM. The session was concluded by Svetlana Bajalica Lagercrantz and Ingemar Ernberg reflecting on leadership in university hospitals and academic research institutes. Interactions and discussion between lecturers and participants continued and flourished at an extraordinary dinner at the Stockholm’s Nobel Museum.

“I am going to convince you that numbers are beautiful.” In the first lecture of the second day of the workshop, Anders Ekbom indeed got everyone engage with cancer registry data. Changing gears to a totally different view on PCM, the patient advocate Eskil Degsell introduced Symtomics, stimulating the debate about the potential of patient-reported outcomes as a next generation of clinical biomarkers. Showcasing world-leading technology development at KI, Staffan Holmin demonstrated the revolutionary Extroducer technology enabling drug and cell delivery, as well as tissue sampling via blood vessels.

In the afternoon, the TRYTRAC fellows were familiarized with the Science for Life Laboratories (SciLifeLab). The session was started by Olli Kallioniemi who explained the infrastructure of the SciLifeLab as well as the recent launch of the data-driven life science program. Together with the other speakers of the session Päivi Östling, Janne Lehtiö and Brinton Seashore-Ludlow, the importance of a functional characterization and taxonomy of cancer for PCM was lively discussed. In addition, the participants received a guided tour of SciLifeLab with a focus on sequencing, mass spectrometry, high-content imaging, and drug profiling efforts. After dinner, the participants held a discussion about the future development of the TRYTRAC program.  Among other ideas, a representation of junior members in the CCE board of directors and the creation of a CCE junior faculty were discussed.

The last day of the workshop was comprised of getting to know the clinical infrastructure and PCM program at Karolinska University Hospital. Biomarker discovery from a clinical point of view was presented by Luigi De Petris, Simon Ekman and Kristina Viktorsson. Jeffrey Yachnin introduced the clinical trials unit and gave a guided tour through the impressive Karolinska University Hospital.

Taken together, the first physical TRYTRAC workshop at Karolinska Institutet was well received by the fellows. Alongside an outstanding scientific program and insights into the infrastructure and strength of the CCE site, networking activities between participants and lecturers were supported and deemed very valuable. The next TRYTRAC workshop in 2022 is planned to take place at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg, Germany.

– Andreas Mock

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