Congratulations to our newest doctoral graduate, Tonje Bjørntrø, who successfully defended her thesis entitled “Extracellular Vesicles in Colorectal Cancer”. Tonje first gave a fascinating public lecture on the potential therapeutic uses of extracellular vesicles (EVs), which outlined all the various novel ways that researchers have identified to use EVs to help treat diseases. Tonje then presented her disputas where she outlined her work into identifying the primary payload of EVs derived from colorectal cancer patients. Tonje’s work showed several interesting things: First, that in hypoxic environments, several miRNAs are expressed at different levels and retrieved in patients with aggressive colorectal (CRC) cancers versus less aggressive CRC; second, that two exosomal miRNAs were higher in rectal cancer patients with their cancer spread to distant organs,and finally, that the EVs themselves may be mediating part of the immune response in the tumour microenvironment through regulation of transcription and cytokine release in monocytes. Tonje’s findings lay the groundwork for future research into the role of EVs in the tumour microenvironment.
Special thanks to opponents Cecilia Lässer (University of Gothenburg), Associate Professor Eva Hofsli (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and Associate Professor Anders Erik Astrup Dahm (Chair of the Adjudication Committee, University of Oslo). Tonje’s research was supervised by Professor Anne Hansen Ree (University of Oslo and Akershus University Hospital).