The Norwegian Society for Extracellular Vesicles (NOR-EV) was founded 16.10.2019. The society’s goal is to be a network for scientists, consultants and students interested in extracellular vesicles, to raise awareness about this research topic in Norway and to promote communication between their members and other relevant national and international scientific communities.
In 2013, six enthusiastic research groups in South-Eastern Norway received a three-year funding period from the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (HSØ) for the establishment of a Regional Research Network on Extracellular Vesicles (RRNEV). The network was established at Oslo University Hospital (OUS), Ullevål. It created a framework where numerous and valuable synergies emerged, resulting in more than 30 publications. Moreover, during the initial RRNEV period, the first PhD and master degrees on EVs were defended in Norway. RRNEV also had a strong focus on disseminating EV knowledge to the national and international scientific and medical communities. As a result, RRNEV set a clear standard for EV research in the region and in Norway, and thus laid the groundwork for the establishment of NOR-EV.
What are extracellular vesicles?
EVs are a heterogeneous group of nano-sized vesicles released by cells that are important players in inter-cellular communication. They are found in all biological fluids and are considered as cellular mini-maps carrying selected macromolecules (proteins, lipids and nucleic acids) that mirror the physiological state of their cells of origin.
Main challenges of EV research
The identification of EV-based biomarkers holds a great promise for significant improvement of personalized medicine based on simple biofluid-based tests. Recent technology developments have helped to identify numerous EV-based biomarkers as hallmarks of diseases, response to treatments, or patient prognosis. However, a main challenge in the EV field has been the standardization and harmonization of methodology required to translate research results into the clinic. The scientific community is aware of this challenge, and massive resources within multidisciplinary research are continuously being put into this work. In the time to come, validation of well-established methodology in well-characterized, independent and large patient cohorts is crucial in order to develop robust and reliable EV-based biomarkers and therapy principles.
Purpose and focus areas of the NOR-EV network
The complexity of EV-based research requires multidisciplinary knowledge and collaborative efforts. From the lessons learned over the last years, it is clear that close and strong interactions between clinicians and scientists are required for a successful translation of EV-diagnostics to the clinic. Therefore, NOR-EV has a significant added value as a platform for clinical and academic partners with multidisciplinary and complementary expertise.