She receives the 2021 Marie and August Krogh Prize for her dedicated efforts in cancer and immunotherapy.
The Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding health researcher in Denmark. The Foundation and the Organization of Danish Medical Societies award the Prize, which is accompanied by DKK 1.5 million, of which DKK 1.25 million is for research and DKK 250,000 is a personal award.
Thanks to Inge Marie Svane’s significant contribution, immunotherapy has led to a paradigm shift in cancer treatment, states the Novo Nordisk Foundation in a press release.
“This symbolizes the progress of immunotherapy. Just 10 years ago, immunotherapy was basically mocked in medical circles. The major scientific conferences had few presentations on immunotherapy, and these were tucked away in the remotest basement room. But today virtually all scientific articles in oncology mention immunotherapy,” says Inge Marie Svane.
Establishing the National Center for Cancer Immune Therapy
Inge Marie Svane has been the key driver behind establishing the National Center for Cancer Immune Therapy, which conducts research on the interaction between cancer and the immune system. The Center is the only place in Denmark offering advanced T-cell therapy.
Inge Marie Svane is very motivated by integrating research with treating patients, and this is exactly what she can do at the National Center for Cancer Immune Therapy under the Department of Oncology at Herlev Hospital.
“Having the contact and connection with patients – and experiencing personally that the treatment works – drives me. There can be exceptions, but just the fact that there is hope makes a huge difference to patients,” she says.
The grand dame of immunotherapy in Denmark
In addition to leading the National Center for Cancer Immune Therapy, Inge Marie Svane has overall responsibility for treating people with severe breast cancer in eastern Denmark. She is also a sought-after communicator and member of the Scientific Committee of the European Society for Medical Oncology. Throughout her career, Inge Marie Svane has received numerous awards, including from the Danish Cancer Society, which called her the grand dame of immunotherapy in Denmark.
“She is a great inspiration for the research community and a vital part of the ambition to make cancer treatment in Denmark world class.”
“Inge Marie Svane is a distinguished example of how a small country can produce great research results and researchers of international calibre. The path to the ground-breaking T-cell treatment was not always easy, but Inge Marie Svane’s admirable dedication and talent has created results that extend far into the future. She is a great inspiration for the research community and a vital part of the ambition to make cancer treatment in Denmark world class,” says Susanne Axelsen, Chair of the Organization of Danish Medical Societies.
Photo of Inge Marie Svane: The Novo Nordisk Foundation