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Elisa Napoli from Oncoinvent

Oncoinvent aims to provide cancer patients with better treatment, and employee Elisa Napoli is making sure that the company's product is safe for future patients. As an Industrial Ph.D. candidate, Elisa is especially grateful for the opportunity to conduct her research while having access to both industrial and academic expertise.

(Foto: Oncoinvent) Project title:
" Radium-224 for medical use Radiation safety assessment of a radium based medical product."

Field of study:
Medical Physics.

Affiliated university:
Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo (UiO)

Background:
A master's degree in Physics, with a specialization in Nuclear Physics.

About Oncoinvent:
Oncoinvent AS is a privately held Norwegian company based in Oslo, committed to developing new innovative products to provide better treatment options to cancer patients. The company’s business goals include the development of radiotherapeutic and radioimmunotherapeutic products for treatment of various cancers. Oncoinvent’s lead product candidate, Radspherin®, is a new alpha-emitting radioactive microsphere designed for treatment of metastatic cancers in body cavities. The first clinical indication for Radspherin® will be treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis originating from ovarian cancer.

 

What is your project about?

There is a strong demand for new effective cancer therapies, particularly for aggressive and metastatic spreading tumors. Radspherin®, Oncoinvent’s new lead product candidate based on Radium-224, is designed for the treatment of metastatic cancers such as peritoneal carcinomatosis. When it comes to medicinal and medical products, assessment of the safety of the product is very important. The safety assessment is related to the handling throughout production and shipment process, and to the administration in patients by health care personnel. My main role as a physicist in this project is to perform this safety evaluation of the product.


In your opinion, what is the difference between being an Industrial Ph.D. candidate and a traditional doctoral candidate employed by a university or university college?

The main benefit of being an Industrial Ph.D. candidate is that it allows you to gain industry experience while pursuing your doctoral studies. You are conducting scientific research for a doctoral thesis while getting to know the structure of a business, and the demands and requirement in a company. I also appreciate the fact that I am working closely with both the company's research and development personnel, and colleagues with different kinds of backgrounds and competences, such as finance, quality control and assurance.

Having to split my time between the UiO and Oncoinvent can be challenging, but I am lucky enough to have most of my work time at the company site. To make traveling to and from the university as easy as possible I have rented a place close to campus. Taking both the opportunities and the challenges into consideration, it is my opinion that an Industrial Ph.D. will be highly beneficial for my career, as I am earning both academic and industrial experience through my doctoral project.


How have you implemented the project in your company, and how do you plan your days at the company and at the university?

I try to fit my everyday schedule with both business and university related activities, consistently prioritizing what is necessary to pursue my Ph.D. As an example, if I have an exam at the university 90% of my working day will be dedicated to studying for that exam. During the periods when I am not following any courses at the university and there is an important study going on at the company, then I dig into work and collect data for my scientific papers. The work is done in collaboration with both my company supervisors and my academic supervisors. I meet my supervisors regularly and they are always updated on my progress. When needed we plan meetings to discuss results and future plans for the project.


And finally, do you have any advice for future or current Ph.D. candidates?

Start your research from the very first day of your Ph.D.! It is very helpful to have a lot of your data ready for writing two or three papers at the end of your second year. Moreover, I suggest scheduling your study programme at the university in a way that allows you to finish all your exams during your second year. By finishing your exams early, you will have plenty of time dedicated to the company and for writing your scientific papers.
 

(Foto: Oncoinvent)

Skrevet av:
Siri H. Hollekim Haaland Rådgiver shh@forskningsradet.no
Publisert:
22.02.2018
Sist oppdatert:
22.02.2018