9 November 2021

Facility success stories: NKI Robotics and Screening Center

Elize Brolsma

Elize Brolsma

Elize is part of Oncode’s communication team. She has over 10 years of experience in the com-munication industry, both for commercial and non-profit organisations. After obtaining her bache-lor and master degree in communication at Utrecht University, Elize worked as a communication professional at a research institute, PR agency, law firm and internet company. She has a strong focus on external communications and Public Relations. At Oncode - together with her colleagues - Elize produces the monthly newsletters for Oncode Investigators & Researchers and the Oncode digital magazine. She publishes content for the Oncode website and is responsible for all social media channels. She enjoys discussing science with researchers and support them in their outreach.

The goal of Oncode Institute is to translate the results of ground-breaking fundamental research into the clinic faster, in order to improve the chances of cancer patients. Investing in new technologies and facilities - which are available to all Oncode researchers - is one of the ways in which Oncode contributes to breakthroughs in cancer research.

The Oncode drug screening centres of expertise at the LUMC and the NKI are examples of such facilities. They provide Oncode researchers with advice and support to perform complex compound screens with the Drug Repurposing library. Researchers Przemek Krawczyk and Enzo Scutigliani (Amsterdam UMC), together with Oncode Investigator Roland Kanaar (Erasmus MC) are working with the drug screening center at the NKI in an interesting research project.

Przemek explains: “Hyperthermia - essentially raising the tumor temperature to 41-43 °C - is a clinically applied cancer treatment that enhances the efficacy of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for various cancer types. Our hypothesis is that hyperthermia has many more effects that could be exploited in cancer treatments, but this has never been systematically investigated.

To identify compounds that potentiate the efficacy of hyperthermia, we are currently screening large drug libraries at the NKI Robotics and Screening Center, which collaborates intensively with Oncode. We hope these screens will uncover molecules that have already been tested in patients for other indications, so that we can quickly develop new treatment strategies and translate them to the clinic. In addition, by systematically analyzing the effects of thousands of drugs, we are gaining valuable information on the cellular mechanisms that are affected by hyperthermia.

Our cooperation with the facility runs very smoothly, and we are especially happy with the help of Roderick Beijersbergen, who is leading this facility, and his experienced team. They really think with us when it comes to useful preliminary experiments, designing the actual screening conditions, and then execute almost all practical aspects. We have little experience with performing large compound screens, so this support is absolutely essential.”

All Oncode facilities can be found via https://www.oncode.nl/facilities. Researchers who want a full overview of the possibilities with regards to technologies, facilities, infrastructures, and online platforms are encouraged to login at the Oncode Community Platform*, where all information is available. Alternatively, they can contact Jacqueline Staring, Programme Manager at Oncode Institute, directly. More information about the added value of the Oncode technologies and facilities are discussed by Jacqueline in this interview.

*All Oncode researchers have access to the Oncode Community Platform, if you have troubles logging in, please contact communications@oncode.nl and don’t hesitate to update your own personal community platform page.

Jacqueline Staring

Jacqueline Staring

Programme Manager

After her study of Biomedical Sciences at Utrecht University, Jacqueline finished her PhD in virology and functional genetics at the Netherlands cancer institute. She then moved to Denmark to do a postdoc in ancient pathogens and genomics at the University of Copenhagen. At Oncode, Jacqueline is working on the technology focussed programmes such as the Drug Repurposing, Equipment & Infrastructure, and Technology Access programmes. She also likes to engage the younger Oncode community and is therefore for instance co-organizing the Oncode postdoc retreats.


Programme Manager

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