In terms of lessons learnt, it’s totally clear to me that at the beginning of the journey for anti-TNF antibodies... it seemed unachievable clinically to get the required amount of antibodies produced... I think the lesson to be learned from that for us as basic scientists interested in finding new ways to treat diseases is: don’t let yourself be talked down by people telling you, ‘Oh, we cannot make this into a drug.’ Professor Henning Walczak, The Recent History of Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF).
Professor Henning Walczak MSc PhD (b. 1966) graduated in biology from the University of Bielefeld in 1992, and obtained a PhD from the same university in 1995 for work carried out at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany) on activation-induced T cell death. He worked at Immunex Corporation in Seattle (WA, USA) for two years (1996–1997) before returning to DKFZ in 1998, where he became Group Leader in 2000 following receipt of a BioFuture Prize awarded by the German Ministry for Science and Education. In 2007 he was appointed Chair of Tumour Immunology at Imperial College London, joining UCL’s Cancer Institute in 2013 where he currently acts as Head of the Department & Chair of Cancer Biology and Scientific Director of the Cancer Research UK – UCL Centre. In 2012 he was awarded both an ERC Advanced Grant and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award. His research focuses on cell death and ubiquitin in inflammation, cancer, and (auto)immunity. He is particularly interested in unravelling the mechanisms of how the TNF, CD95, and TRAIL death receptor-ligand systems, but also other TNF superfamily receptor ligand systems, are regulated and how they impact cancer cell survival, cancer-related inflammation, and cancer immunity.