Bjørn Tore Gjertsen is senior consultant in internal medicine and hematology, and since 2010 the medical chief at the clinical trials unit for adults at Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. Since 2007 he has been Professor of Hematology at University of Bergen, focusing on biomarker and therapy development, particularly in acute leukemia.
Gjertsen completed his M.D. in 1992, and earned a PhD in cell signalling and cell biology at the University of Bergen in 1995. From 1997-1999 he worked as a postdoc at MD ANcerson Cancer Center, Houston. In addition to building up the clinical trials unit to an operating phase I unit, he has established a core faclilty for flow cytometery at the university, an important platform for biomarker development in clinical trials.
Gjertsen is board member of Oslo Cancer Cluster, an oncology research and industry cluster dedicated to accelerating the development of new cancer diagnostics and medicines. He is founder of two small biotech companies, KinnTherapeutics, a CRO in preclinical cancer therapy development, and Alden Cancer Therapy, a company developing cell based immune therapy against cancer.
Research activities and key achievements: Study of intracellular signal transduction by protein phosphorylation in regulation of cell death (apoptosis) phenotypes (J Cell Sci 1994). The concept of apoptosis-resistance mechanism in leukemia through point mutation in protein kinase A as (J Biol Chem 1993), and development of a small molecular protein kinase A-inhibitor (Rp-8Br-cAMPS; J Biol Chem 1995). Delineated early protein modifications in chemotherapy induced apoptosis in vitro and in patients (Leukemia 2004, Clin Cancer Res 2006, Blood 2008), and demonstrated the impact of p53 protein isoforms modulation and gene expression in patients during high dose chemotherapy of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (Clin Cancer Res 2006, Blood 2007, Mol Cancer 2009, Oncogene 2012). Development of single cell phosphoprotein analysis in patient AML cells for phenotype analysis of mutations in signalling pathways, introducing the concept of phosphoprotein signaling response for prognostic information in cancer, as biomarkers in clinical trials and in elucidation of key physiological responses (Cell 2004, Leukemia 2006, Blood 2007, J Immunol 2010, Blood Cancer J 2011, EHA and ASH Abstracts 2013). In collaboration with Dr. McCormack, development of animal models and advanced molecular imaging of acute myelogen leukemia for development of p53- and signalling-targeted therapy (Blood 2008, Leukemia 2012, Cancer Res 2013, Blood 2013).