• 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 1 year with possible extension
  • Date of publication: 5 July 2018
  • Deadline: 19 July 2018
  • Scale 7: max € 41812 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
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Job description

Interested in Immunology and Immunotherapy? Join our team and exciting translational research program!
 
This project focuses on the clinical exploration of Natural killer (NK) cell therapy against Ovarian Carcinoma (OC). Advanced stage OC is the most lethal gynecological malignancy and accounts for around 65.000 new cases in Europe each year. Current treatment consists of surgery combined with chemotherapy, but there is a need to develop novel therapeutic strategies to improve survival for advanced OC patients. Adoptive cell therapy involving the administration of immune cells with direct anti-tumor activity is an attractive treatment option. In this regard, NK cells are promising candidates since these immune effector cells have the capability to kill tumor cells by several killing mechanisms. To exploit allogeneic NK cells in cancer therapy, we have developed a GMP-compliant culture system capable of generating clinically applicable NK cell products with high purity and functionality from umbilical cord blood-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC). Promisingly, our pre-clinical studies demonstrate that ovarian cancer cells are highly susceptible for killing by HPC-NK cells.

Furthermore, we have demonstrated that intravenous infusion of HPC-NK cells is safe and well tolerated in poor-prognosis leukemia patients. In this project financed by KWF, we will explore intraperitoneal HPC-NK cell transfer as a novel therapy in recurrent ovarian carcinoma patients. The objective is to evaluate safety, toxicity and expansion of intraperitoneally infused UCB-derived ex vivo-generated NK cells in patients diagnosed with recurrent ovarian cancer. Infusion with and without lymphodepleting chemotherapy will be compared for HPC-NK cell persistence and expansion that is crucial for clinical benefit. The plan of investigation is organized in two parts. First, we will upscale our improved culture process using CD34+ UCB cells as stem cell source, and perform quality check on the HPC-NK preparations. This protocol will be conformed to GMP requirements and documented in an investigational medicinal product dossier. Then, we will test adoptive transfer of UCB-NK cells in a phase I study, with the primary objective to evaluate the safety and toxicity of intraperitoneal UCB-NK cell infusion in combination with IL-2 support, with versus without a preceding lymphodepleting conditioning regimen. Secondary objectives are in vivo lifespan, proliferation and functional activity of infused NK cells and preliminary effect on peritoneal disease using CA-125 serum levels. If allogeneic HPC-NK cells are safe, well tolerated and capable of intraperitoneal expansion, the next step would be NK cell infusion after regular first-line debulking surgery and chemotherapy.

For this project we are looking for an enthusiastic technician, who in close collaboration with a Post-doc and other team members will perform NK cell manufacturing in the GMP cleanroom facility, immunomonitoring studies, document and report research results and contribute to scientific publications.

Tasks and responsibilities
  • Contributes to the development of new knowledge within the context of the department’s research program;
  • Performs cell therapy manufacturing in cleanroom facility;
  • Performs immunomonitoring research;
  • Independent performance of cellular immunological and flow cytometry assays;
  • Presentation and discussion of data (written reports, team meetings);
  • Translation of research findings to methods, protocols and SOPs.

Profile

  • Hlo degree;
  • Affinity with cellular immunological assays;
  • Affinity with cell manufacturing in cleanrooms;
  • You can work independently, are proactive, enthousiastic and a team-player;
  • You have ample experience with cell culture, flow cytometry and cellular immunology techniques.

Organization

The research project will be conducted in the Immunotherapy research group of the Laboratory of Hematology and the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

We focus on the characterization and modulation of immune reactions involved in the antitumor response against cancer. Our translational research program encompasses five intermingled themes:
  • Development of novel strategies to boost antitumor immunity for (hematological) malignancies;
  • Co-signaling pathways involved in tumor immune escape;
  • DC-based vaccination strategies against hematological cancers;
  • NK cell-based immunotherapy against leukemia, multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer
  • CAR T cell-based immunotherapy.

Our research is embedded in the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS). The studies indicated in this vacancy will be performed in close collaboration with clinicians of the Departments of Gynecology and Hematology. We provide a stimulating work environment within a group of enthusiastic non-clinical and clinical researchers and technicians with a strong national and international research network and track record.

Radboudumc
Radboudumc strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and how you can do your part.

Employment conditions

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be a screening based on the provided CV. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

Application
Applicants should send a letter of intent outlining their specific interest in the position, overall related qualifications, experience and career goals, a curriculum vitae, grade list and names and addresses of professional references.

Information
All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Harry Dolstra, associate professor or Dr. Willemijn Hobo, assistant professor. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before July 19, 2018.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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