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Dr Sougat Misra awarded the 2017 environmental prize in medicine

Dr Sougat Misra at the Department of Laboratory Medicine is one of two scientists at Karolinska Institutet awarded the 2017 environemental prize from Cancer- and allergifonden.


– It feels nice to get recognized for the scientific contributions that I have made, Sougat says. At the same time, I would like to recognize the unparalleled efforts from all the eminent colleagues who have been intricately involved in the project. I am also thankful to the group leader, Dr. Mikael Björnstedt, and Dr. Caroline Verbeke to render me the opportunity to embark on developing the project since its inception.

Sougat receives his prize in recognition of the contributions he has made in establishing the culture system.

– Drug screening in 2D cell culture models have numerous limitations which make these a poor choice of test systems for predicting drug response in human, he says. Development of new test systems that can closely recapitulate the biology of cognate tumour tissues, may serve as better predictive models for drug response. In addressing this, we have pioneered a culture method in which thin slices (organotypic) of freshly resected pancreatic tumour tissues can be kept alive in the laboratory for at least 4 days. The culture duration provides sufficient window to perform efficacy evaluations of experimental cancer drugs in human tumour tissues outside the human body. Such model systems have much broader applications and are amenable to experimental manipulations that are not possible to implement in cancer patients.

One of Sougat's future aims involve molecular characterizations of the model system.

– With this money we will also perform ex vivo efficacy evaluations of few existing cancer chemotherapeutics and some promising selenium compounds with potential anti-cancer properties. I am also planning to apply for more research funding that would facilitate uninterrupted development of the project and would secure training of qualified personnel.

Sougat would also like to expand their expertise to culture tissue slices obtained from surplus surgical specimen of other tumours, specifically the ones with poor prognosis.

– A successful venture can bring about new development in personalized medicine by facilitating choice of adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy after surgery) in the clinical settings.

The motivation from Cancer- and allergifonden (only in Swedish):

Sougat Misra har genom ett mycket omfattande och systematiskt arbete utvecklat en unik organotypisk modell som möjliggör undersökning av hela tumörbitar i kultur. Systemet är ett utmärkt djurfritt precisionsverktyg för patientnära läkemedelsforskning. Modellen möjliggör också att en individualiserad terapi kan erbjudas patienterna genom att olika läkemedel och även cellterapi med bl.a. T-cellskloner kan utprovas och optimeras för varje enskild patient. Genom Sougats arbete har grunden lagts till en forskningsinfrastruktur som kan erbjuda unika möjligheter för den medicinska utvecklingen särskilt inom cancervården för ett stort antal tumörgrupper.