Sabine Kasimir Bauer
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Cancer Research

Prof. Sabine Kasimir-Bauer

Head of Laboratory, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Essen, Germany

Prof. Kasimir-Bauer is researching into breast and ovarian cancer. Her team established workflows to study multianalytes in the ELIMA (Evaluation of multiple Liquid biopsy analytes In Metastatic breast cancer patients All from one blood sample) studies. She is also a long-term collaborator with QIAGEN R&D.

Cancer research is important to me because …

I have always been interested in science and languages. My “magic moment” was at the age of 14. I had to dissect a fish in my biology course and I realized that I was very good in preparing the fish. So I decided to become a surgeon. However, we have a long family history of cancer including leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer. So during my clinical visits, I realized that a lot of young people had to die and that several clinicians were suffering hard from the fact that they could not cure these patients. Finally, I decided to move into the field of cancer research to bring good and no bad news.

The person who inspired me most in my career was …

Prof. Dr. med Siegfried Seeber, the Director of the Department of Internal Medicine (Cancer Research) at the University Hospital of Essen. After my Ph.D., I spent 9 years there.

Patients adored him because he was very busy finding drugs to treat them. He was more or less applying targeted therapy in the late nineties and had fantastic results. He told me about one of his breast cancer patients who had liver metastasis and no evidence of disease after treatment. That patient visited him once a year and had been fine for 10 years without any evidence of disease, still ongoing during these days. He said that these are the cases that motivate him to continue. He is still busy at the age of 79.

If I were starting my career again …

The only thing I would change is the course I studied. I studied Biology at university but nowadays, there are more exciting possibilities like “Medical Biology” or “Molecular Medicine.”

The happiest moment in my scientific career was …

What really makes me happy is to go to exciting scientific meetings like the AACR, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium or the special meeting about tumor cells. I like the new inputs, the discussions and most importantly, I have built a wonderful scientific network and made friends with people from all over the world.

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“I have built a wonderful scientific network and made friends with people from all over the world.” 
Prof. Kasimir-Bauer

The most important publication in cancer research is …

I have no idea, there have been so many excellent publications that I cannot indicate a special one.

The most important research breakthrough is … 

It was our publication in 2009 by Aktas et al., in Breast Cancer Research. We were able to show that the stem cell marker ALDH1 and at least one of three tested markers of Epithelial-Mesenchymal-Transition (EMT) were frequently expressed in metastatic breast cancer patients who harbored circulating tumor cells. In the follow-up of the disease that significantly correlated with the response to treatment. This paper has been receiving a lot of citations since we demonstrated for the first time that stem cell-like cells were present in blood of these patients and, probably responsible for treatment failure.

Bahriye Aktas, Mitra Tewes, Tanja Fehm, Siegfried Hauch, Rainer Kimmig and Sabine Kasimir-Bauer (2009) Stem cell and epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers are frequently overexpressed in circulating tumor cells of metastatic breast cancer patients. Breast Cancer Res. 11:R46. doi: 10.1186/bcr2333.

Stem-cell like cells present in blood can indicate treatment failure in breast cancer patients. Liquid biopsies are a promising method to monitor treatments in future.

The most important advancement in cancer research that must happen in the next five years …

I think that we all have to be “more translational,” use the scientific resources we have, build up scientific networks, include clinicians and also pharmaceutical companies to move ideas forward more quickly.

How societies should change over the next 10 years to help control and prevent cancer …

I think that we have to start early, especially with prevention programs. Kids at school should learn about the dangers of smoking and should be educated about nutrition – also adiposity, which might lead to a variety of other diseases. Of course, this will not necessarily protect from cancer, but may protect from other diseases that finally could lead to cancer.

I would recommend to young scientists …

Not to give up. If you are fond of science, stick to it. Of course, there are frustrating moments when your paper or grant has been rejected but believe in your ideas, be open and build up your network. Finally, you will be successful.

I want to be remembered …

As a deep hearted, honest scientist who is doing research to improve the prognosis of our breast and ovarian cancer patients and who is always inspiring and supporting young scientists.

Multi Analythe Liquid Biopsy

Dr. Corinna Keup completed her doctoral thesis in the team in Essen establishing workflows to study multianalytes in the ELIMA studies.

Dr. Sabine Kasimir-Bauer

Dr. Sabine Kasimir-Bauer is an Associate Professor at the University Hospital of Essen, Germany, where she has held several positions since joining in 1993. She her received Ph.D. in 1993 from the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Bochum, Germany. Dr Kasimir-Bauer’s ongoing studies include expression profiling of CTCs including single cell analysis, compared with the expression on the primary tumor as well as the metastases to evaluate patients for targeted therapies. Besides CTC analysis in blood, the group focusses on circulating extracellular vesicles and circulating, cell-free DNA applying the use of unique molecular identifiers as well as next-generation sequencing. 

Thank you!

On behalf of Prof. Sabine Kasimir-Bauer, QIAGEN has donated 500 euros to the DKMS (an organization that arranges stem cell donation in Germany and internationally) to support them in their fight against blood cancer.

For more information, or to register as a potential donor, visit www.dkms.org.

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