Three researchers from the Radboudumc receive a Clinical Fellowship grant from ZonMw. Dirk Geurts, Arjan van Laarhoven and Chella van der Post will receive an amount of up to 200,000 euros for their research on ketamine and depression, non-tuberculous mycobacteria and predicting gastric cancer.
Arjan van Laarhoven - research on non-tuberculous mycobacteria
Tuberculosis has plagued humans since prehistoric times. Despite decreased poverty and antibiotics, 1.5 million people die each year from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The close relatives of "nontuberculous mycobacteria" also cause infections, especially in regions with little tuberculosis such as the Netherlands. Patients with mycobacterial infections sometimes suffer from uninhibited growth of mycobacteria, or on the contrary, hyperactive immune system, high fevers and tissue damage. However, we do not know how to effectively stimulate or inhibit the immune system of these patients. That's why Van Laarhoven wants to identify patients predisposed to too much or too little inflammation by testing the function of their white blood cells. He will reuse data from large international patient studies to establish a simple "bio-signature. Patients with a propensity for too much inflammation can then be considered for usual care or additional anti-inflammatories in a study.
Dirk Geurts - research on ketamine and depression
A new treatment, S-ketamine nasal spray, has recently become available to cope with difficult-to-treat depression. This drug can still make one out of two patients get better. Unfortunately, the treatment is very expensive and its accessibility in the Netherlands is limited. In this project, Geurts and colleagues will learn to better predict who will or will not get better from S-ketamine. He will use recent neurocognitive knowledge about S-ketamine, depression and behavioral measurements to collect data relevant specifically to these patients and this drug. He then uses machine learning procedures to achieve robust and relevant improvement in prediction, providing patients with a relevant estimate of their probability of success at the individual level. With this, in addition to information about other treatments, they can decide with their physician and environment whether or not to initiate S-ketamine treatment.
Chella van der Post - research on predicting stomach cancer
Patients with a congenital defect in the CDH1 gene have an increased risk of diffuse type gastric cancer (DGC). These patients are advised at young adulthood to undergo prophylactic gastric resection which is often accompanied by long-term symptoms. Microscopic foci of DGC are almost always found in these gastric resections. However, new figures show that about 60-70% of patients would not develop advanced stage gastric cancer. This research proposal aims to predict which patients are eligible for endoscopic surveillance and who should undergo gastric resection. In this research, Van der Post studies gastric tissue from different DGC stages. She also uses gastric organoids; cultured mini-organs with the structure and organization of the stomach. In these organoids, she can mimic the different steps of gastric cancer progression to unravel exactly what happens during gastric cancer development.
About Clinical Fellowship
With a grant of up to 200,000 euros each from the Clinical Fellows program, 15 young clinicians with doctorates will establish their own first line of scientific research. They will also create a bridge between clinic and scientific research with their research project.
A Clinical Fellowship is a personal incentive grant for a doctoral and specialized clinician who wants to continue to combine clinical work with scientific research. It allows the clinician to begin establishing his or her own initial line of research. The program is for clinicians who are still more or less at the beginning of their scientific career.
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