Combat pancreatic cancer by means of the own immune system
Ernst Jung Career Advancement Award for Medical Research 2017 goes to Dr. Lena Seifert.
Hamburg, 6 January 2017. The Jung Foundation for Science and Research is awarding the general surgeon Dr med. Lena Seifert the Ernst Jung Career Advancement Award for Medical Research. With prize money totalling 210,000 euros, the foundation is supporting Seifert’s project of developing new immunological approaches for better treatment options for pancreatic cancer over a period of three years.
Pancreatic cancer is a particularly aggressive form of cancer: according to the prognosis, the tumour disease will be the second most common cause of cancer deaths by 2030. New immunotherapies have shown promising results for a variety of different types of cancer, but not in the case of pancreatic cancer. “A big hurdle is among other things the immunosuppressive and connective tissue environment of the tumour”, Dr med. Lena Seifert explained. Her research work aims to understand a specific type of cell death, and the immune system, in detail. “The aim is to derive new immune therapy approaches from the findings that can improve the prognosis of pancreatic cancer long-term”, said Seifert.
The graduate doctor started her medical specialist training in the field of visceral surgery at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2010. After three years she moved to New York to complete her postdoc studies in the lab of Professor George Miller at the NYU School of Medicine. During this time, she received grants from the American Liver Foundation and the German Research Society DFG. Since July 2015, she has been employed as a assistant doctor and research associate in the Department of General, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus of the Technical University of Dresden. “I see the future of cancer treatment as one individualised therapy”, the 33-year-old emerging scientist explained, for whom medicine should always focus on the patient. Positive and tolerant people are role models for her. She finds in her family and friends a particular inspiration in this regard and is at her happiest when she, together with her husband, spends her spare time with them.