Carl Figdor, theme Cancer development and immune defense and Mihai Netea, theme Infectious diseases and global health, have each received an ERC Advanced Grant. The amount varies per grant, but is approximately 2.5 million euros. They can use this funding to continue their research for the next five years. In total, there are 21 ERC Advanced Grants granted to researchers of Dutch universities this year.Carl Figdor - A new approach to immunotherapy
In the ‘ARTimmune’ project, Carl Figdor focuses on the intriguing, novel idea of creating injectable synthetic lymph nodes to attack tumours more directly. His idea may have important implications for clinics. Currently, many cancer patients are failing to respond to immune therapy and new strategies are desperately needed. ARTimmune builds on the success and increasing popularity of immunotherapy in oncology, and seeks to overcome the key limitations of current treatments, such as serious side effects. Current treatments, such as CAR T-cell therapy and checkpoint inhibitors, can result in severe toxicity to normal tissues. Figdor wants to investigate a new approach in which the use of local immunotherapy reduces both toxicity and immune suppression by the tumour. ARTimmune is a direct result of the Institute of Chemical Immunology’s gravity programme, with Figdor being one of the initiators and in which chemists work closely together with immunologists.
Mihai Netea – improving vaccinations for the elderly
Mihai Netea seeks to understand how our body recognises all those pathogens and fights them effectively. Our immune system consists of an ‘innate’ and a ‘adaptive’ component. We receive this innate component at birth. The adaptive part can ‘learn’ from past infections and develops during our lifetime through direct contact with bacteria, fungi and viruses. The adaptive immune system component stores these contact situations in its immunological memory. Thanks to that memory, the immune system can strike quickly and effectively when a new infection of an already known pathogen is detected. It has long been thought that this memory is an exclusive feature of the learned defences. However, research by Mihai Netea and colleagues shows that this is not the case. The innate system also has a memory, albeit a non-specific one. Something they call ‘trained immunity’. They also discovered that the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis can stimulate the innate immune system’s memory. They demonstrated that the innate immune system responds better to all kinds of other infections after a BCG vaccination has been administered. Now Netea wants to investigate whether the vaccine can be used to boost the immune system of the elderly. Netea and his colleagues hope to clarify the role of different immune cells in trained immunity in order to ultimately determine whether the BCG vaccination can be useful for specific target groups with a weakened immune system.
More information about ERC Advanced grants at Radboud University you can find here.
Related news items
ERC Consolidator Grant for Bousema and Sechopoulos12 December 2019
Teun Bousema and Ioannis Sechopoulos are to receive an ERC Consolidator Grant of around two million euros each. This European research subsidy will enable them to carry out research for the next five years.read more
New insights into the initiation of T cell responses in the spleen11 December 2019
Carl Figdor and colleagues, theme Cancer development and immune defense, provide insights into the initiation of T cell responses in the spleen and their consequences for T cell differentiation. They have published their results in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.read more
A personal touch of Marieke Willemse10 December 2019
In order to promote interaction amongst colleagues within RIMLS, we have a ‘personal touch’ series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don’t! This week: Marieke Willemse.read more
Two teams of RIMLS-FNWI participate in Alpe d'HuZes10 December 2019
Sixteen employees of the research institute RIMLS-FNWI have taken on the challenge to run, bike or hike up the mountain Alpe d’Huez as many times as possible 4 June 2020, to raise as much money as possible for cancer research.read more
Dietrich-Knorr Prize for Hedi Claahsen-van der Grinten10 December 2019
Hedi Claahsen-van der Grinten, theme Vascular damage, received the Dietrich-Knorr prize 2019 for the best published paper in the field of adrenal research, for her publication in the Journal of Clinical endocrinology & Metabolism.read more
Help wanted to organize the New Frontiers symposium in 20219 December 2019
Are you a 1st or 2nd year PhD candidate with the ambition to organize an international symposium? The organizing committee of the RIMLS New Frontiers Symposium in 2021 dedicated to Glycobiology is looking for two PhD candidates who are interested to participate in the organization.read more