28 March 2019

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


Patient trust and participation in cell biological research

21 August 2019

Alessandra Cambi and Gert Olthuis, discuss key ethical issues inherent in the development and the value of building trust and trustworthiness.

read more

NWO grant for a tissue-generating patch to close diaphragmatic defects

21 August 2019

Willeke Daamen and Toin van Kuppevelt, theme Reconstructive and regenerative medicine, were recently awarded a 690 k€ grant by NWO, domain Applied & Engineering Sciences, for the development of advanced patches for closure of diaphragmatic defects in children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

read more

Front cover Human Mutation

21 August 2019

The MetaDome web server build to interpret genetic variants based on genetic tolerance and homologous protein domains is featured on the Cover of Human Mutation. MetaDome was developed by Laurens van de Wiel, Coos Baakman, Daan Gilissen, Joris Veltman, Gert Vriend and Christian Gilissen,

read more

NWO grant to develop new biomaterials for Sander Leeuwenburgh and Roland Brock

20 August 2019

Sander Leeuwenburgh (Dept. of Dentistry) and Roland Brock (Biochemistry) were recently awarded with a grant of 581 k€ by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, Domain Applied & Engineering Sciences AES) to develop new biomaterials for improved regeneration of bone defects.

read more

DELA, Radboudumc and Games for Health start a new project to fight loneliness among elderly using games

12 August 2019

More than half of people aged 75 and over feel their selves lonely every now and then. A special collaboration between DELA, Radboudumc, and Games for Health will investigate whether joined gaming between elderly and young people can alleviate this social problem.

read more

Floris Schreuder received Dekker grant

6 August 2019

Floris Schreuder received one of the ten Dekker grants from the Dutch Heart Foundation (Hartstichting).

read more