The 34th annual European Association for Urology (EAU) Congress was held in Barcelona from 15-19 March. This was the occasion for the presentation of the Dominique Chopin Distinguished Award for excellence in urological research. This year’s award went to Anders Bjartell.
For some ten years now, the EAU has been presenting the Dominique Chopin Distinguished Award to the individual who has significantly advanced basic, translational or clinical urological research in Europe.
Translational research on prostate cancer
Anders Bjartell, who is a professor and consultant working at the Department of Translational Medicine, received his medical training in Lund and Malmö, after which he spent five years conducting research in Lund and the United States. Having received his doctorate in medical cell research in 1990, he went on to specialise in urology of the urinary tract and male genitals. During his time in the United States he worked at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, perhaps the world’s best hospital for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Today, Anders Bjartell works clinically for two days a week at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö. He spends the rest of his time focusing on his own research into prostate cancer, as well as being engaged in urological research at national and international level. He is also the chair of the EAU Research Foundation.
Congratulations Anders, how does it feel to receive the award?
“It is a fantastic feeling to receive this award. It’s great that the EAU has acknowledged the research on prostate cancer that I and my research colleagues have been conducting for such a long time. And in part I see the award as a reward for long-term dedication and work to promote European urological research.
Who comes together at the European Association for Urology Congress?
“The annual European Association for Urology Congress is a major event that in principle covers every aspect of urology. This year, we numbered almost 12,000 delegates. The EAU Research Foundation also arranges its own annual congress. which is relatively small but always attracts those with a particular interest in basic and transitional urological research for a broad exchange of ideas.”
What was the initial motivation behind your interest in urological and oncology research?
“After completing my doctoral thesis in medical cell research in 1990, I began my clinical training in the field of urology. It was then that I meet people like Hans Lilja and Per-Anders Abrahamsson who encouraged me to research prostate cancer using methods I had picked up during my post-graduate education.”
What are you working on at the moment?
“Right now I’m involved in pretty much every facet of prostate cancer; laboratory research, animal models, image analysis, clinical trials and robot surgery. For the past two years I have been responsible for the EAU’s research department along with its clinical studies and register and I am also assistant coordinator of the PIONEER big data prostate cancer project. Some of my work and research also involves a great deal of travelling, as I am involved in several other collaborative projects. I also visit conferences all around the world to exchange experiences.”
What do you hope that your research will achieve?
“I have a fantastic research group here in Sweden, with administrators and research nurses whose efforts make it possible for me and my colleagues to work on prostate cancer on such a broad front. The aim of our research is to eventually improve diagnostics, therapies, quality of life and survival rates for all patients suffering from prostate cancer.”
Research financed by the Swedish Prostate Cancer Federation
Anders Bjartell and his research colleague Agnieszka Krzyzanowska of the Department of Translational Medicine were recently awarded grants by the Swedish Prostate Cancer Federation for two projects.
Anders Bjartell’s grant will go to an ongoing project studying the blocking of STAT3 tumour cells and immune cells as a new treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Researchers will be studying the interaction between cancer, cells and the immune system in order to create new therapies against severe prostate cancers that are currently untreatable.