Carl Figdor and Michiel Vermeulen participate in Oncode Institute

7 February 2018

Oncode is the independent institute dedicated to outsmarting cancer and impacting lives.

Carl Figdor and Michiel Vermeulen participate in the Oncode Institute for Radboudumc and Radboud University, respectively.

Research programme

Despite enormous progress in our understanding of cancer, the chance of long-term survival remains small for many patients, particularly those with metastatic disease. Oncode will address this unmet clinical need through an innovative basic research programme. True innovation in the treatment of cancer relies on new insights into the basic mechanisms of oncogenesis, which in turn depend heavily on technological innovation. Oncode research will be guided by a number of key questions that need to be resolved to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life for cancer patients.

Principal scientific questions

The key issues in cancer research today are summed up in our principal scientific questions:
  • Can we define new and better targets for therapy on the basis of detailed analyses of tumours, tumour-derived cell lines and organoids, and xenografts?
  • What is the basis for tumour heterogeneity, and how can we harness this knowledge to refine cancer therapy? 
  • What role does the cell of origin play in a tumour’s characteristics and responsiveness to therapy?
  • How do cancer cells avoid host immune attack, and how can we stop them from doing so?
  • How do non-mutated background genes influence tumour formation and response to therapy?
  • Can we develop novel models to predict therapy response?
  • How can we prevent metastatic disease?

Scientific themes

On the basis of these questions, Oncode’s founding scientists have identified six scientific themes that constitute the basis of the integrated research strategy:
  1. Development of novel technologies
  2. Understanding the critical drivers of tumour growth and the causes of resistance
  3. Analysis of network perturbations in tumours and tumour-host interactions
  4. Causes and consequences of genetic instability
  5. Identification of critical drug combinations and biomarkers for personalized cancer treatments
  6. Mobilizing immune defence
The scientific strategy will evolve naturally over time. Oncode’s financial and valorization support will enable the Oncode Investigators and their research groups to adapt their research to changes in the field of oncology and respond to medical innovations. Oncode will encourage researchers to allow the knowledge and experience imparted by clinical studies and patient engagement to guide their work.

Read more on the Oncode website.

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