GRANT. Roger Olofsson Bagge receives the SSMF Consolidator Grant. The grant of eleven million SEK will fund five years of research on regional cancer therapy. This treatment approach is globally recognized, with the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital leading the way.
Roger Olofsson Bagge, aged 45, is a cancer surgeon and professor at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy. When he received the email from the Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF), he didn’t know what to expect.
“I had been interviewed the week before, and it felt like the panel was positive. But you can never be completely sure. So, when I read the message, it was undoubtedly great news, and it brought a lot of relief too. The first thing I did was call my wife and share the news with her.”
“Personally, it means two things for me. Firstly, it’s a substantial financial boost for our research. Secondly, it signifies that I have transitioned from being ‘young and promising, receiving starting grants’ to now qualifying for a ‘consolidator grant.’ I see this as evidence that I have taken my research to the next level, and I’m certainly proud of that.”
“Extremely honored to be the first”
The SSMF Consolidator Grant, a major grant program, was launched in 2022, with four researchers each receiving eleven million SEK. This year, Roger Olofsson Bagge is among the chosen recipients, becoming the first researcher at the University of Gothenburg to be awarded this grant.
“As mentioned, the grant is substantial financially, but perhaps even more so from the perspective that our research has received a ‘good grade.’ It’s extremely honoring to be the first at the University of Gothenburg. However, I also know that there are many talented researchers here who will receive similar grants in the coming years,” says Roger Olofsson Bagge, continuing:
“Economically, it allows me to be more long-term in certain projects. I can be more innovative, partially relieved from the pressure of chasing grants and, most importantly, focus on conducting even better science. Now I can hire more people for my team. Five years is a significant period, during which we’ll hopefully take even greater steps.”
Leading in Sweden and worldwide
Olofsson Bagge’s research, funded by the grant, focuses on regional cancer therapy.
“It’s a treatment where we at Sahlgrenska University Hospital are unique in Sweden and leaders internationally. Through surgery, various parts of the body affected by cancer – arms, legs, or the liver – are connected to a heart-lung machine. Then, the isolated part of the body is perfused with an extremely high dose of chemotherapy without affecting the rest of the patient’s body.”
Pioneering new cancer treatments
What is cutting-edge in this research is that Roger Olofsson Bagge and his team combine this treatment with modern immunotherapy.
“We have initiated unique clinical studies where we take biopsies and blood samples for lab analysis and then create new studies for our patients. This is what we call translational research, moving from the lab to the patient and back to the lab. We can now continue this research loop for another five years. Through close collaboration between the university and the hospital, we are developing new cancer treatments.”
“We celebrate this together”
Thanks to the eleven million grant from SSMF, Roger Olofsson Bagge can expand his research team.
“We will have some full-time researchers, but even more importantly, more people can be involved in these projects on a part-time basis. This is essential for involving clinically active individuals in translational research.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say after getting this significant grant?
“Research is rarely the work of one person, and in this case, it’s certainly not. Without all my fantastic colleagues at both the hospital and the university, I would never have received this grant. So, this is something we celebrate together!”
BY: JAKOB LUNDBERG