Our vision for a Surgical Academy with Prof Prokar Dasgupta
Prof Prokar Dasgupta [pictured right], our recently appointed Professor of Surgery, talks about his vision for King’s Health Partners new Surgical Academy and how he plans to bring surgeons across our partnership together to push for surgical excellence.
Can you tell us about your career?
I am a clinician-scientist and chairman of the King’s College London Institute of Robotic Surgery. In this field my main interests are in surgical data science using a variety of methods, such as artificial intelligence, image guidance and augmented reality. Working with industry partners we have also pioneered minimal delay communication in robotic surgery, using what is called the ‘Internet of Skills’.
My scientific career started by studying the immunology of Leishmaniasis more than 30 years ago. I am also credited with describing an innovative method of injecting Botulinum toxin (Botox) with a flexible telescope to target bladder nerves, a technique that is named after me and has helped many patients world-wide. I have just completed nearly a decade as Editor-in-Chief of a 90-year old journal, the British Journal of Urology International, transforming it into one of the most read surgical journals on the internet.
I am also part of the Prostate Cancer Research Centre at King’s College London. We have been developing novel immunotherapy cancer treatment for prostate cancer, injecting modified small proteins called cytokines directly into tumours. We are also trying to re-purpose drugs commonly used for high blood pressure, against prostate cancer by altering a signaling pathway and reducing the risk of cancer spreading to different parts of the body.
What will your new appointment as Professor of Surgery at King’s Health Partners mean for surgeons across the partnership?
Becoming King’s Health Partners Professor of Surgery is a huge honour. We have a massive opportunity of bringing surgeons across King’s Health Partners together, irrespective of their specialty, and showcasing the fantastic work that they are doing along with their scientists and educationalists. My vision is to facilitate outstanding surgical science collaborations, support hybrid surgical and implementation trials, improve education for the next generation of surgical trainees and inspire students wishing to embark on exciting surgical careers. Bringing together our tremendous colleagues in this way will help create our new Surgical Academy – a space that brings surgeons across our partnership together to push for surgical excellence.
What are your plans for the new Surgical Academy over the coming months?
To tell everyone more about what we are trying to achieve, we are going to hold a number of workshops online. The first is taking place on 29 October 5.30pm-7.30pm. You can register you’re your place via the King’s Health Partners website. This will be an opportunity to bring academic surgeons together across the partnership, showcase the excellent work that is already being done at King’s Health Partners and build new collaborations in surgical science, education and clinical trials.
How has your typical working day changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
At the height of the pandemic our surgical output dropped by around 80%. Thankfully, many of the prostate cancer patients could be managed with hormonal treatment while we waited for services to start again safely. Very few of my patients came to see me face-to-face, so like most clinical colleagues I had to rapidly learn the art of teleconsultation. I also used to travel frequently to international destinations which has now completely vanished. This has given me the time to get even fitter and appreciate the stunning beauty of the island that we live on.
What do you do with your time outside of academia?
I am a tennis fan and love watching Roger Federer play. I have successfully completed a number of marathons and happen to be a reasonable cook.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in their medical career?
Do not be afraid to dream big!
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