South London cancer researcher named UK top 50 trailblazer


Posted on Friday 22 November 2019
20192119sophie-papa

Dr Sophie Papa

A Guy’s and St Thomas’ researcher, Dr Sophie Papa, has been recognised for how her research has benefitted patients.

Dr Papa was named as one of the 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2019, a report which showcases women trailblazers and trendsetters in UK bioscience.

Her research group aims to bring cell therapies into the clinic to treat patients with cancer. Cell therapies involve giving patients therapies involving live cells, usually their own.

Examples currently in use include treatments where patients receive immune cells to help combat a disease. These therapies have been used successfully in cancers like lymphoma that affect the blood, but there are particular barriers to using them in cancers which are a solid tumour – e.g. breast, lung or head and neck.

Currently these therapies are experimental but Dr Papa hopes her work will help to bring them to more patients. She is involved in delivering a first in human trial of a cell therapy called CAR-T therapy, in head and neck cancer.

Dr Papa is Clinical Reader at King’s College London and consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and lead for skin cancer research at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Commenting on her inclusion in the report she said: “As clinicians we focus our work on making a genuine difference for our patients. We aim to reduce the impact of symptoms and improve the quality and length of life for our patients. As researchers we address the underlying biology of these cancers. Clinical researchers are key to bringing these goals together.

“I am delighted to have been recognised for the valuable work that we do here at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London. Cell therapies are changing outcomes for some patients with blood cancers. Taking these therapies into more prevalent solid tumours requires coordinated effort across medical specialties.

“We are at the cutting edge of early phase cell therapy trials, exemplified by our trial in head and neck cancer. Building on the skills we have developed through this work we have an expanding portfolio of cell therapy trials in solid tumours. I am committed to developing the science and clinical teams needed to deliver these treatments safely and effectively.”

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