Janus Serum Bank

Janus Serum Bank is a population-based biobank reserved for cancer research which contains blood samples from 318 628 Norwegians. The biobank is unique in terms of size and number of cancer cases. On these pages you will find useful information for participants and researchers.
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The samples were collected during the period 1972 to 2004 and are stored at –25° Celsius. The samples originate from people who have participated in different health surveys across Norway as well as blood donors from Oslo and surrounding areas.

Janus Serum Bank is internationally unique regarding number of samples and cancer cases. Annual linkage to the Norwegian Cancer Registry show that of December 31, 2021, there are registered 112 939 cancer cases among the participants in Janus Serum Bank.

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Janus Serum Bank's purpose is cancer research. Biological material and personal health data from Janus Serum Bank are used for analyzes and research that can provide knowledge about the population's health, but cannot be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the original purpose.

For participants 

To those who have donated blood to Janus Serum Bank: you have made a valuable contribution to cancer research both nationally and internationally.

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For researchers

You can apply to use samples and data from Janus Serum Bank for cancer research.

The next application deadline is 15.11.2023.

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Legal basis and responsibilities

Janus Serum Bank is a general research biobank with approval from the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK), ref. 2017/366.

Janus Serum Bank has a legal basis for processing health data according to the EU's personal data protection regulation (REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data) Article 6(1)(e) and Article 9(2)(j), and Regulations on population-based health examinations (FOR-2018-04-27-645).

The Norwegian Cancer Register is the institution responsible for research and the data controller is Oslo University Hospital HF, where the daily responsibilities is appointed to the Norwegian Cancer Register. The person responsible for Janus Serum Bank is Hilde Langseth, MSc, Ph.D.

New research projects

miRNA as biomarkers in early detection and personalized treatment in overian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease with relatively poor survival - five years after the patient has been diagnosed, just slightly more than half of the women are still alive. Cancer in the surface layer of the ovaries is often detected late because the symptoms are diffuse and uncharacteristic, and the disease is therefore difficult to diagnose. There is also no effective strategy for early detection of this form of cancer.

Micro-RNA (miRNA) are molecules in the body's cells that have important tasks in regulating which genes are switched on and off (gene regulation).

Previous studies have shown promising results for selected miRNAs as possible early biomarkers for ovarian cancer. In this project, a validation of the relevant miRNA panel for the early detection of ovarian cancer will be carried out. The material to be included are serum samples from women who submitted a sample to the Janus serum bank prior to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. These samples must then be compared with corresponding samples from women who have not developed cancer. The project is a European collaboration where biological material from several other cohorts will be included.

The study has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK), no. 551921 REK south-east A, and the project manager is senior researcher Renée Turzanski Fortner at the Norwegian Cancer Registry.

Prospective evaluation of biomarkers for early detection of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is increasing. Obesity is the biggest risk factor for developing cervical cancer and the disease has increased as the prevalence of obesity in the population increases. Early diagnosis increases survival, and 80% is diagnosed with an early stage. Most of these are cured. With higher stage, survival drops noticeably. The 5-year survival rate worldwide for cancer that has spread is only 16%. In Norway the survival rate is higher, with 42% survival.

In this study, we want to investigate 92 selected cancer-related proteins in serum samples from patients taken before they were diagnosed with cervical cancer and compare these with controls who are cancer-free. The aim is to find biomarkers that are differently expressed in those who have developed cancer compared to those who do not develop cancer. We will also evaluate a risk model that looks at the interaction between known risk factors and the expression of selected biomarkers. The study includes approximately 300 samples from the Janus serum bank in Norway and approx. 240 samples from the European cohort EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). Information on age, date of diagnosis, histology, morphology, hormone treatment, removal of uterus, BMI and number of children must be included in the study.

The samples will be analyzed at a laboratory in Germany. If we manage to identify markers in the blood that can be early signs that cancer is developing, this can be of great value to patients who will then be able to receive the diagnosis at an early stage and thus increase survival. The study has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK), no. 509876 REK south-east C, and the project manager in Norway is Renée Turzanski Fortner.