Published: 22-12-2015 08:22 | Updated: 22-12-2015 08:24

"I miss the contact with patients"

Eva Kimby is Senior professor of Hematology at HERM, Department of Medicine, Huddinge. She retired from the clinic last year but is still active with her research and lectures around the world. She leads a multinational research group at HERM that is focusing on different types of lymphoma diseases.

You were in Orlando recently. What did you do there?

- I went to a conference organized by American Society of Hematology (ASH) where researchers in Hematology from all over the world meet. I gave a lecture about new therapies in CLL and follicular lymphoma, says Eva Kimby.

What is your research about?

- My research focus is chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular lymphoma (FL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and Waldenströms macroglobulinemia, which all are different types of lymphoma diseases. We are mainly interested in lymphoid malignancies of B-celltype and their biology. We also focus on different treatment concepts. There are currently several effective therapies against lymphoma but the disease often returns and a combination of several drugs is needed to get as good results as possible.

You retired over a year ago but you are still active with your research?

- I support the research group at HERM but many researchers will soon be independent. I´m also supervising clinical doctors in their Ph.D studies in the Center for Hematology, and also a PhD student in Umeå. I still give lectures on lymphoma research and I´m active in different networks – for example: the Swedish KLL-group, Nordic Lymphoma group (NLG), European lymphoma Institute (ELI ) and European Research on CLL (ERIC).

- However, I can´t treat patients in the clinic anymore and that´s sad, I miss the contact with patients, says Eva Kimby.

What is your background? (Professional)

- I studied to be a doctor here at KI and specialized in internal medicine. I worked as an internist during some years and after that I studied hematology, mainly because I had been inspired by Professor Lars Engstedt during my fist contact with the clinic. I started my PhD studies in Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and took my doctorate in the Department of Medicine, Danderyd Hospital, in 1989. By then I had three small children.

How was it to doctorate with small children at home?

- The Ph.D. studies were different from now. We were not employed as PhD students, but worked as clinical doctors and had few hours deposited for research. I wrote most of my thesis in late evenings and during weekends when the kids were sleeping. It was a lot hard work but it worked out well for me. I had to focus and write when there was time for it. My husband is a musician and he was on tour a lot when the kids were small – but as they grow older is was my turn to travel.

If you must choose one research effort you are particularly proud of, what would that be?

- That I was involved in the introduction of the first approved monoclonal antibody against lymphomas in studies of the NLG - Nordic Lymphoma group. The drug called rituximab (Mabthera) is now used against all lymphomas of B- celltype. MabThera can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy and other biological drugs and its use has leads to a prolonged life time for many lymphoma patients.

- I'm also proud that I have been fighting for the patients, so that they are more involved in decisions about their own diseases and in specific research questions. Many years ago I joined a project in Boston, where we worked a lot with lectures for patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. This was implemented and is still used in our international research team for this disease.

What do you do in your spare time?

- I live in the countryside and love animals! I recently bought two horses and spend a lot of time in the stable. I also have seven grandchildren between 1.5 and 10 years, with whom I play as much as I can.