15 October 2019

My name is Maroeska te Loo, medical staff member of Pediatric Hematology at the department of Pediatrics of the Amalia Childrens Hospital. I am currently working in the theme Rare cancers.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your child years? 

"As a child I wanted to become an archaeologist. I thought it was wonderful to go outside and look for shards, old things and then make a whole of it. When I was 10, however, my mother developed cancer and became very ill. At some point in time, the doctors thought she would die and I had to say goodbye as a 10-year-old. I did not understand the impact and asked what I could do to help. The intensivist indicated that I was still too small to help large people and to understand the problems there where. From that moment on, I only wanted one thing: to become a doctor to help small people. I never let go of that thought again and through high school, medical school etc. I only wanted to become a pediatrician that would make the difference. I still look for pieces, however, the pieces that I am looking for are: learning more about the pathogenesis of diseases and finding new solutions for treatment or improve current treatment."

What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why that study?

"As mentioned above I already knew as a child that I wanted to become a pediatrician. For this, I studied medicine in Nijmegen, followed by my PhD thesis on Hemolytic uremic syndrome in pediatrics. Subsequently, I started my training to become a pediatrician first and later a pediatric hematologist and oncologist. During my fellow period as pediatric hematologist I received my first personal grant to study pharmacogenetics of osteosarcoma. Knowledge regarding pharmacological aspects forms the corner stone of my research. For this reason I started my training as clinical pharmacologist in 2009."

The RIMLS motto is: ‘Today’s molecules for tomorrow’s medicine’. What does this mean for you?

"Based on the genetic profiles of the diseases of the patients I hope to find new druggable targets. And by using pharmacogenomics I hope to improve current treatment strategies to enhance efficacy and reduce adverse events seen in patients."

Who is your great example as scientists? And why?

"In fact my greatest example was my promotor prof. Leo Monnens PhD. He was always working to improve medical care of children and always linked the clinic with scientific research and vice versa. His integrity, his enthusiasm and his personal care have always been a great example for me."

Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?

"At this moment we are performing a clinical trial with the drug Sirolimus in patients with a congenital vascular malformation that had no other treatment options anymore. Patients with these vascular malformation suffer of severe pain due local increased coagulation and infections. Sirolimus is a drug that inhibits the mTOR pathway, which is upregulated in these patients due mutations in the PIK3CA pathway. By inhibiting the mTOR pathway we hoped to make a difference for this patients. The trial with Sirolimus runs now for several years: for me, it is still a wonder to see how life of about 70% of the patients have changed by introducing Sirolimus. 70% of the patients has less or even no pain anymore, quality of life improved significantly and patients can participate in normal daily activities. Interestingly, in 30% of the patients we observed a reduction in the size of the vascular malformation."

Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?

"That is a difficult question as I would not perform only one experiment. I have a lot of ideas how to improve current medical treatment in pediatrics for example by introducing an nationwide pharmacovigilance system and pharmacogenetic testing. On the other hand I would like to unravel more about the pathogenesis of the vascular malformations, gain insight why there is local intravascular coagulation and which factors contribute. Furthermore, I would like to gain insight in the genetic signature of these vascular malformations to find new druggable targets."

What does your working area look like and what does it say about you or your research?

"My work area is very clean and organized. I like to be organized in both my medical tasks and my research."

Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight:

"Marieke Coenen, department of Genetics."

What type of person are you? Quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?                               : Mac
b) Theater or cinema?                : Theater
c) Dine out or dine in?                : Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?                         : Ferrari
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?     : Chocoholic
f) Culture or Nature                     : Nature
  • Want to know more about these subjects? Click on the buttons below for more news.

    RIMLSRare cancers

Related news items


650,000 Euro funding for research into the phasing out of medication for leukaemia patients

30 July 2020

With a 650,000 euro funding from ZonMw, researchers from the Haematology and Pharmacy departments can develop a medication phasing out strategy for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia. This strategy will be tested in practice.

read more

ERC Proof of Concept grant received by Ronald van Rij

30 July 2020

Ronald van Rij, theme Infectious diseases and global health, received an ERC (European Research Council) Proof of Concept grant of 150,000 euros, in order to make arbovirus vaccines even safer.

read more

Hypatia fellowship Call is open

30 July 2020

The Hypatia fellowship round with the deadline 31 May has been canceled. Therefore, the next available deadline will be 27 September 2020. Radboudumc researchers are invited to scout young potentials to fill the strategic gaps within the research themes imbedded in RIHS and RIMLS.  

read more

Mihai Netea and colleagues published two papers back-to-back in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 

29 July 2020

These back-to-back articles investigated the effect of BCG vaccination on trained immunity. The first article shows that BCG vaccination inhibits systemic inflammation, depending on gender. The second article demonstrates that the circadian rhythm influences the induction of trained immunity.

read more

Genetic mutation reveals how coronavirus strikes TLR7 plays essential role in disease process

28 July 2020

''Does a congenital immune defect play an important role in the defense against Coronavirus?'' This was published by Cas van der Made, Frank van der Veerdonk and Alexander Hoischen.

read more

Improved method for detecting lung cancer

24 July 2020

Radboudumc researchers are the only ones in the Netherlands using a new method to make better lung cancer diagnoses earlier stage. Erik van der Heijden and Roel Verhoeven shows that the use of flexible imaging equipment via the natural respiratory tract contributes to a more accurate diagnosis.

read more