Despite being only 35, Michal Šimíček heads the Blood Cancer Research Group in Ostrava, a team doing very exciting work in the field of cell therapy. This ground-breaking treatment involves using live immune system cells to target certain kinds of tumors and Šimíček’s aim is to create universal cells that could be taken from any donor, so making the treatment way more affordable than it is now.
In this in-depth interview, the recipient of the prestigious Neuron prize for young scientists discusses how seemingly revolutionary cell therapy (including the dramatic sounding “suicide gene”) works, how it compares to chemotherapy, the patriotic aspect of moving back to his native region – and his perhaps surprising second profession.
Dr. Michal Šimíček, Ph.D. was awarded the Neuron prize in the field of medicine in 2019. He achieved his success in biomedical research by examining the processes causing malignant diseases and their resistance to drugs and became a member of an elite group of Czech scientists.
Following his studies he worked in Leuven (Belgium), London and Cambridge but then decided to return to Moravia where he launched a first-rate scientific centre in the Department of Haematooncology at the University Hospital in Ostrava. He and his team develop unique technologies of cell therapy for various types of cancer. In collaboration with the biomedical centre of Primecell Bioscience, he launched the production of his own cell therapy preparations, and University Hospital Ostrava became an important international centre for the treatment of oncological diseases such as leukaemia and multiple myeloma.
Czech Next Wave is produced jointly by the Czech Centres network and Radio Prague International. The podcasts series introduces listeners around the world to emerging, exciting and highly talented young Czech in various areas of the arts and beyond. The idea for the podcast series originated in the Czech Center NY. Ondřej Pivec's intro tunes for the show were also created on the basis of long-term cooperation with ČCNY.