Cancer development and immune defense About themeIt is our ambition to be a leading center of expertise regarding the pathogenic mechanisms and development of targeted (immune)therapy in cancer.
One third of the general population develops cancer sometime during life. Annually, more than 110,000 people in the Netherlands are being diagnosed with cancer. For patients with a localized tumor, the prospects are relatively good if effective surgery and/or irradiation treatment can be applied. Still, about 36% of patients die from their disease within five years. Once disseminated, regular cancer treatments like chemotherapy and irradiation are limited by toxicity on vital normal tissues and the development of personalized, targeted therapies are warranted. In order to improve treatment efficacy and reduce toxicity, new tumor-specific treatment modalities need to be developed, with a specific focus on the eradication of residual disease that may give rise to relapse. We aim to reach this goal by gaining more insight into the immunological, molecular, and (epi)genetic processes that are involved in tumor development, outgrowth, immune control, and therapy response.
- We aim to identify all genetic ‘driver’ lesions that underlie the pathogenesis of cancer.
- We study epigenetic mechanisms implicated in aberrant gene expression in cancer.
- We study immune cell and cancer cell trafficking.
- We investigate to what extent the immune system is capable of recognizing tumor cells.
- We study mechanisms to stimulate specific anti-tumor immune responses.
- We will perform clinical trials to test compounds that specifically target the molecular pathways that are disturbed.
- We will perform clinical trials in which manipulated immune cells are used to eradicate cancer cells.
- We direct prospective, population-based cancer registries to analyze prognosis, therapy response, quality of life and economic aspects.