29th January 2020
2 min read
Defeating cancer in Luxembourg: Legs Kanning Prize 2019
National award granted to Dr Anna Golebiewska and Dr Johannes Meiser
On Tuesday, January 28th 2020, Dr Anna Golebiewska, Group Leader at the NORLUX Neuro-Oncology laboratory, and Dr Johannes Meiser, Group Leader of the Cancer Metabolism Group at LIH’s Department of Oncology, received the “Legs Kanning Prize” from the association “Action Lions Vaincre le Cancer”. The prize rewards the scientific achievement of researchers who devote their career to cancer research in Luxembourg.
This year, the Legs Kanning committee granted the 2019 prize to Dr Golebiewska and Dr Meiser, in recognition of their excellent research achievements. The prize, which amounts to EUR 7,500 for each researcher, was conferred during the 15th “Legs Kanning” conference, which took place at the headquarters of the “Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL)” on Tuesday, January 28th. Following a welcome speech from Mr Raoul Stefanetti, Head of Private Banking Luxembourg at BIL, and Prof Marc Diederich, president of “Action Lions Vaincre la Cancer”, Dr Golebiewska and Dr Meiser both took the floor to present their research projects to the audience.
Dr Golebiewska introduced her work on glioblastoma (GBM), one of the deadliest types of brain cancers. Specifically, she and her team have been investigating how plasticity — i.e. the ability of tumour cells to switch between different phenotypes in a reversible manner — affects GBM progression, allowing GBM cells to quickly adapt to their evolving microenvironments and escape therapeutic pressures. Dr Golebiewska also explained the importance of so-called patient-derived orthotopic xenograft (PDOX) models, i.e. patient tumors grown in murine brains. These models, which act as “patient avatars”, are invaluable for preclinical drug testing, particularly in the context of developing personalised cancer therapies.
Dr Meiser, who started his laboratory at the LIH Department of Oncology in 2018, illustrated his group’s research on the elucidation of the metabolic alterations occurring in cancer cells, which play an important role in their survival, growth, motility and in metastasis formation. He outlined that the metabolism of cancer cells can be highly flexible, allowing them to adapt to diverse nutrient availabilities, survive unfavourable conditions and ultimately colonise a different organ via the vasculature, giving rise to metastases. Therefore, one of the big challenges in the field is to understand these adaptation processes to identify cancer cell-specific metabolic vulnerabilities that can be exploited for clinical oncotherapy.
“I am honoured to have had the opportunity to present our work and to have received the award, since it reflects the interest, recognition and support of the Luxembourg community to the high-quality research we conduct here at LIH"
says Dr Golebiewska.
“My goal is to establish a cancer metabolism research team that is profoundly embedded in the Luxembourgish research landscape and that also contributes in a meaningful manner to the field of cancer metabolism research at an international level. It is a great pleasure receiving this award today, which further boosts my motivation to pursue this vision"
concludes Dr Meiser.
Dr Meiser and Dr Golebiewska at the Legs Kanning award ceremony - January 28th, 2020
> Action Lions "Vaincre le Cancer”
Action Lions "Vaincre le Cancer”, created in 1976, is a non-for-profit organisation that supports the fight against cancer by funding research projects, providing scholarships to young academics and financial aid to cancer patients in need and their families. The organisation annually awards the “Legs Kanning Prize”, derived from the testamentary legacy of Mr. Eugène W. Kanning, to researchers working in the field of cancer screening, treatment or prevention. Until now, over EUR 400,000 has already been awarded to a total of 35 eligible researchers.