The Assar Gabrielssons Fond Foundation has awarded Sanhita Mitra in the category of basic scientific research and Maria Lycke in the category of clinical research. Both laureates, researching at the University of Gothenburg, will receive a reward of SEK 100,000 each, directly transferred to the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg as an additional research grants.
The prize for clinical research goes to Maria Lycke for clinically appropriate and well-conducted studies of early diagnosis, and investigation of ovarian cancer. The combination of mutation analysis in the tumor and circulating tumor-DNA with circulating protein markers and algorithms is promising. This knowledge can lead to clear benefit to patients through better diagnostics, reducing unnecessary surgery and unearned fertility.
Maria Lycke is a surgeon specialized in gynecological cancers. After medical school at the University of Linköping, from 2001 to 2006, she continued with her medical training with an internship at Varberg’s general hospital between 2006-2008 whereafter she started her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
This was in 2008 and since then she has defended her thesis work in 2020 and will soon reach the end of her a sub-specialty training as a gynecological tumor surgeon at the Sahlgrenska University hospital. Her thesis work, entitled Clinical implementation of novel diagnostic biomarkers for epithelial ovarian cancer, was the result of extensive work with collecting and analyzing a wide range of samples from women with suspected ovarian cancer for a multicenter study in the western region of Sweden. She now has a PhD in medical sciences at the University of Gothenburg and has continued her scientific work in gynecological cancers, still with special focus on ovarian cancer. Presently it is the need for better diagnostic tools that is the driver of her research efforts, and she is continuing developing biomarkers using molecular genetics for gynecological cancer diagnostics.
Sanhita Mitra is awarded the prize for advanced and innovative, translational studies that reveal the functional role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) in the development of neuroblastoma. The results show changes in expression of lncRNA in tumors that poorly respond to treatment. These findings may contribute to the development of alternative strategies for more effective treatment of patients with neuroblastoma.
Sanhita Mitra did her dissertation at the end of 2019 from Prof. Chandrasekhar Kanduri’s research group at Gothenburg University. Her thesis work aims at understanding the role of noncoding portion of the genome in childhood cancer Neuroblastoma. Noncoding segment of the genome which was earlier considered to be “Junk” has recently been shown to have important role in different diseases including cancers.
To this end, she along with her group did a detail molecular characterization of noncoding genome derived RNA transcripts which are frequently deregulated in aggressive form of Neuroblastoma and promote tumor growth. This finding on mechanistic understanding of noncoding genome derived transcripts also led to a proposal of novel small molecule based drug combination as a therapy for severe Neuroblastoma. Her thesis work provides an interesting dimension where basic research has been translated to the clinical features of Neuroblastoma to develop better therapeutic and prognostic approaches.
From "Explanatory statement, 2021-Award"
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