under the umbrella of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich
The Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Foundation was founded in 1960 by Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère to support cancer research at the University of Zurich. In 2019, the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich was happy to announce the first Ida de Pottère-Leupold und Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Cancer Research Award. The biennal award recognizes doctoral students and early-career scientists and clinician-scientists of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich, who have made a significant contribution to basic and/or clinical cancer research. The awards are endowed with CHF 5.000 each.
The 2021 Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Cancer Research Award for doctoral students was conferred to Johanna Wagner, PhD, from the Department of Quantitative Biomedicine, UZH and ETH (at the time of the publication). The award recognizes her work: A single-cell atlas of the tumor and immune ecosystem of human breast cancer (Wagner et al., Cell 2019). Johanna Wagner characterized the diversity of several million cancer cells and immune cells in over one hundred human breast tumors and compared them with normal tissue. She discovered that against previous assumptions aggressive tumors were usually dominated by one cancer cell type that differed from patient to patient. “Our work in the Bodenmiller laboratory and with scientists at IBM Research Zurich and the Patients’ Tumor Bank of Hope Foundation has changed how we think about this complex disease and will hopefully improve patient selection for immunotherapy clinical trials” says Johanna Wagner. Since 2021, her postdoctoral research focuses on sarcomas at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg.
The 2021 Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Cancer Research Award for clinician-scientists was conferred to Tobias Weiss, MD/PhD, from Department of Neurology, USZ. The award recognizes his work: Immunocytokines are a promising immunotherapeutic approach against glioblastoma (Weiss et al., Science translational medicine, 2020). “Our preclinical characterization and first clinical translation of antibody-cytokine fusion proteins as a novel cancer immunotherapy against glioblastoma has laid the foundation for several follow-up projects and we hope to ultimately improve the prognosis of patients with this fatal disease” remarks Tobias Weiss. Since 2012, Tobias Weiss works as a physician and researcher at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich.
The 2021 award ceremony took place at the 2021 CCCZ Fellows Symposium on November 17th, 2021.
The 2019 Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Cancer Research Award for doctoral students was conferred to Jonas Schmid, PhD, from the Institute of Molecular Cancer Research, UZH. The award recognizes his work: Histone ubiquitination by the DNA damage response is required for efficient DNA replication in unperturbed S Phase. The findings promise to reveal the complex cellular apparatus, as well as epigenetic modifications, modulating efficient DNA replication. These studies may significantly help to shed light on mechanisms of genome instability during cellular proliferation and on patient-specific responses to chemotherapeutic treatments interfering with replication
Jonas Schmid performed his fast track PhD (Master & PhD combined) in Cancer Biology in the labs of Prof. Massimo Lopes and Prof. Lorenza Penengo at the Institute of Molecular Cancer Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Since September 2018 he is registered as medical student at the University of Fribourg. “While working on my PhD I recognized the necessity of combining molecular expertise with medical competence to bring new and innovative therapies from bench to bedside, which inspired me to take up the study of medicine” says Jonas Schmid.
The 2019 Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Cancer Research Award for scientists / physician-scientists was conferred to Ewelina Krzywinska, PhD, from the Institute of Anatomy, UZH. The award recognizes her work: Loss of HIF-1α in natural killer cells inhibits tumour growth by stimulating non-productive angiogenesis. Given the emerging importance of adoptive NK cell transfer in clinical routine, these novel findings provide a rationale to consider and target the hypoxic response in NK cells. “Every year around 14 million people will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 8 million of them will eventually die. I decided to commit myself to cancer research to better diagnose and treat these patients” remarks Ewelina Krzywinska. Since 2015, Ewelina Krzywinska is a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Christian Stockmann at the Cardiovascular Research Center in Paris, France and the Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her studies focus on hypoxic response in Natural Killer cells and the impact on cytotoxicity and vascular remodeling.
The Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Foundation was founded in 1960 by Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère to support cancer research at the University of Zurich. The de Pottère Fund is managed by a board of trustees composed by the directors of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich.
The call for the Ida de Pottère-Leupold and Dr. iur. Erik de Pottère Award 2021 closed on October 3rd, 2021.