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Sep 9, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Global Science Café 3, Cell & Gene Therapy: The future has already begun

Research of Dr. Michal Šimíček, Ph. D. focuses on the development of cell therapy for the treatment of tumors of the hematopoietic system. Cell therapy is a completely new and extremely effective approach in the fight against cancer. The 3rd edition of the Global Science Café will explore more about the groundbreaking method of this new treatment.


Michal Šimíček, laureát Ceny Neuron pro mladé nadějné vědce za rok 2019 v oboru medicína © Nadační fond Neuron


Science Café / online via Czech Center FB

September 9, 2020, 1 p.m. (EDT)


GuestDr. Michal Šimíček, Ph. D.

Presenter: Dr. Michael Londesborough, Ph.D.

Online: Czech Centres FB

Language: English


Cells like trained tumour killers

One of the main areas of his research is the development of cell therapy for the treatment of tumours of the hematopoietic system. Cell therapy is a completely new and extremely effective approach in the fight against cancer. Patients are given live cells of the immune system equipped with receptors that help to recognize and eliminate the tumour in a targeted way. This method of treatment is very safe because it can regulate the activity of cells and possibly remove them from the body. The problem of treatment is the price, the goal of Michal Šimíček's team is the cost of treatment, which is high because completely new cells must be prepared for each patient, as similar as possible to their own cells. And it is M. Šimíček who wants to create universal cells that could be taken from any donor and it would be enough to have cells from the blood and significantly reduce the price.

The works of Michal Šimíček, despite his young age (35), have 550 citations. He has a total of 14 articles in the most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature and Science. Its primary goal is to help patients. He will be extremely happy if cell therapy becomes a common type of cancer treatment.

He is able to combine top-level science with parenting his one-year-old son and farming on family homesteads. He owes this unconventional approach to his mentors, who taught him to think "out of the box" - the brain can then think freely, free of dogmas and then revolutionary ideas can come.



About the guest

Dr. Michal Šimíček, Ph.D. (35 years) was awarded the Neuron prize in the field of medicine in 2019. He became a member of the elite group of Czech science persons in which, for example, is also the plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahač. He earned his success in biomedical research by examination of the processes causing the malignant diseases and their drug resistance. He works on the interface between basic and applied research. He got his education and then participated for a long time in the workplaces in Leuven (Belgium) or London and Cambridge but then he decided to go back to his native city Ostrava and launched there first-rate scientific center in the Department of Haematooncology at the University Hospital in Ostrava. In the center, he and his team develop unique technologies of cell therapy against various types of cancer. In comparison with current procedures, the treatment using modified immunity cells is very safe, extremely effective, and in addition to that, it can be adjusted during the development of the tumor to make its effect virtually permanent. In collaboration with the biomedicine center of company Primecell Bioscience, he would launch the production of own cell therapy preparations and University Hospital Ostrava would act as an important international center for the treatment of oncological diseases such as leukemia or multiple myeloma.


About the presenter

Dr. Michael Londesborough, Ph.D., is a British scientist working at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. He was born in 1978 in London. In 1999 he graduated in chemistry from the University of Leeds in Great Britain, in 2002 he defended his Ph.D. at the same university. At the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the ASCR, he focuses on the research into boron compounds. He has won three prizes for Czech / Slovak young inorganic chemists, collaborates on projects with the British Council in Prague, on popularization projects of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Television and the National Technical Museum. He focuses on making science accessible to the general public, teaching young people and strengthening international relations between young scientists (FameLab competition). Michael Londesborough has is an excellent speaker with a relentless desire to explain the laws of nature. He is a co-author and moderator of TV shows (e.g. PORT). He is the holder of many scientific awards; in 2009 the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic awarded him the Vojtěch Náprstek Medal for popularizing science. 


More about the subject of the Global Science Café

We usually do not realize that cell therapy has been a standard part of modern medicine for decades and is very effective and successful. These are hematopoietic transplants, which have been a common method used for the treatment of haematological malignancies, hematopoietic failure and some congenital metabolic diseases for more than 40 years. On the other hand, the efficiency of hematopoietic transplants is redeemed by its high toxicity. It was obvious that it was necessary to look for other options.

Thanks to the development of laboratory techniques and the unprecedented rise of molecular biology, we have acquired powerful tools to detect disorders leading to the development of a number of cancers at the level of specific mutations and proteins. Advances in pharmacy and biotechnology have enabled the development and production of monoclonal antibodies and other molecules that accurately affect or label targets at the molecular and cellular levels. As a result, the effectiveness of treatment has increased dramatically in a number of conditions or diseases. At the same time - and this is very valuable - the short-term and long-term toxicity of the treatment usually decreased. In other words, modern treatment is also available to elderly patients and patients with comorbidities without increasing risk. 

And even here, progress has not stopped. In recent years, we have witnessed that personalized therapy with genetically engineered cells often leads to the cure of advanced haematological malignancies, even in those patients who would previously have been offered only palliative care.

Despite intensive research and development in the field of genetically or otherwise modified cells intended for treatment, we are still at the beginning in the field of clinical medicine and a real revolution will come when products for cell therapy become more widely used in clinical practice. 

However, the future has already begun and in the coming years will bring opportunities that we could only dream of before.


Part of the GLOBAL SCIENCE CAFÉ is a series of popular science lectures and debates with the best Czech scientists, innovators, economists, and other notable figures of today presented by the Czech Centres around the world. It is an informal forum for the discussion of various current scientific and social issues. All events are currently held online and their content is being shared within the network.



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Sep 9, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


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