Interview with Professor Udo Schumacher

“The future of publishing is in open access,” says Professor Udo Schumacher, Editor-in-Chief of Cogent Medicine, who reads all incoming manuscripts himself.

Read this interview with Professor Udo Schumacher in which he discusses the importance of open access in the advancement of cancer treatment.

Can you please introduce yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

I am Udo Schumacher and I am a Professor at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, and Editor-in-Chief of Cogent Medicine. I studied medicine at the University of Kiel, Germany and completed an academic year at The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia, USA. After spending two years in Kiel as a resident in pathology, I worked for almost six years in histology and experimental biology in Munich, followed by six years in Southampton, UK, where I was Chair of Human Morphology.

My particular field of interest is metastasis research. Right from the beginning of my studies I was convinced that this is the area to be in as more than 90% of cancer patients die because of distant metastases. I focus on the role of carbohydrate residues in this process as carbohydrates form the outer coat of all mammalian cells (glycocalyx) and aberrant glycosylation pattern are a hallmark of metastatic disease.

What do you think are the current hot topics in your field of research?

Unravelling the regulatory processes behind metastasis formation and identifying possible drug targets to influence metastasis formation remains a real challenge which has to be addressed now. Another hot topic is the interstitial fluid pressure which develops in solid tumours. This pressure severely limits access of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to reach the majority of cancer cells. In order to make any progress we have to resolve this physical barrier to successful treatment. So we are changing our view on cancer as a molecular disease to a more organismic view on cancer. Perhaps this is a more realistic view?

You are Editor-in-Chief of Cogent Medicine – can you introduce the journal?

Cogent Medicine is a wonderful journal as we cover the entire field of medicine. The classical subject areas within medicine are still very useful for the treatment of patients but in research the borders between the classical disciplines of medicine are vanishing. Therefore we are a journal designed for the 21st century.

Why do you think someone should choose to publish in Cogent Medicine?

Because we try to be fair to the authors. A considerable number of manuscripts, particularly in the review field, are turned down as they cover standard textbook knowledge only. All reasonably written manuscripts will be considered and not only those which one or two editors might find sexy. I read all incoming manuscripts myself which gives me a broad overview of what is going on in the world and  so many diverse aspects of medicine are covered. It is a fascinating world we are living in.

What do you think are the advantages of publishing open access?

The future of publishing is in open access: it has been years since I last visited a library. More and more research is coming through from authors in Asia, South America and Africa who might not have access to the big libraries of the past.  Open access is beneficial for everyone and helps in advancing research across the globe.