Dr Katharina von Loga

Consultant Molecular Pathologist at The Royal Marsden

Originally, Dr Katharina von Loga trained as a surgeon. But a desire to know more about how and why cancers spread through the body led her to specialise in pathology. After training in general pathology and histopathology, Dr von Loga moved into translational research. She wanted to deepen her knowledge about how cancer works at a molecular level and to develop the tests that could make the difference to new treatments.

“ We need to better understand how the immune system interacts with cancer and how cancer cells ‘hide’ from it,”

“You can see how cancer grows – although it’s static under the microscope, it feels like you can watch the cell spreading and multiplying,” she says. “Although no longer having direct patient contact was difficult, the knowledge that pathology is vital to a patient’s treatment means you are still very closely involved in their care as a pathologist.”

After training in Hamburg, Germany, Dr von Loga came to the ICR as a Clinical Research Fellow in February 2016, working in Dr Marco Gerlinger’s laboratory. In March 2018, she was appointed as a Consultant Molecular Pathologist at The Royal Marsden. As the use of immunotherapy in cancer treatment increases, Dr von Loga’s research looks at methods to monitor the immune system within the cancer.

“It’s still early days for immunotherapy and we only understand a small part of how it works. My work is looking at what we can do to understand it better and identify why it works for some molecular settings and some tumour types"

Dr von Loga is involved in two clinical trials, both in gastro-oesophageal cancer. The first compares patients who received standard chemotherapy alone or in combination with immunotherapy, and how the immune system affects the different outcomes.

"While my current focus is on gastrointestinal cancers, the methods I’m working on aren’t limited to a specific tumour type," She says. "My long-term goal is to support multiple trials across multiple tumour types and really understand the impact of the immune system"

Curriculum vitae

2008 Graduates in medicine from the University of Freiburg, Germany

2015 Completes specialist training in histopathology at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2015 Appointed as Consultant Histopathologist at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2016 Appointed as a Clinical Research Fellow at the ICR

2018 Joins The Royal Marsden as Consultant Molecular Pathologist