22 November 2019

Oncode – CGC Annual Conference: where science & scientists meet

On November 7th and 8th 2019, cancer researchers from all over the Netherlands gathered for the Oncode - CGC Annual Conference at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.

Vesna de Jong

Vesna de Jong

Vesna is a Digital Content Manager at Lygature, and is responsible for all things digital at Oncode. Originally from Slovenia, where she finished her MA in English language and literature, life led her to the Netherlands. Vesna has more than 10 years of experience in translation and localization, and has gained extensive experience of digital communications while working for one of the biggest online travel agencies.

New insights in cancer research
This year’s topic ‘Fundamental cancer biology’ brought together world-class speakers from different parts of the globe. The two days were packed with excellent presentations on exciting new insights in cancer research.

Bernhard Küster (Technical University of Munich) kicked of the event with a presentation on proteome-wide characterization off the targets and mechanisms of action of cancer drugs. He presented exciting new chemical proteomics data revealing that many FDA-approved kinase inhibitor drugs display substantial off-target effects, which has important implications for cancer treatment and cancer drug repurposing.

During the immunology session Eric Vivier (Marseille-Luminy Immunology Center) presented how in addition to mobilizing T-cells to attack tumors, Natural Killer cells (NK cells) are effective in anti-tumor responses as well. Decades of basic research on NK cell receptors by Vivier has now led to two drug candidates that are currently tested in patients.

At the start of the second day, Karen Knudsen (Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center) presented novel findings on the functional connection between Androgen Receptor action in prostate cancer and DNA damage response (DDR). Multiple DDR proteins are under the direct transcriptional control of the Androgen Receptor, providing a mechanistic explanation for synergistic effects of hormonal treatment with DNA-damage inducing therapy.

Presentation by Karen Knudsen

After lunch, Duncan Odom (German Cancer Research Center) presented a new study in which they analysed the genomes of hundreds of chemically induced liver tumors in a large cohort of mice. They found interesting patterns of mutations that reflect inheritance mechanisms and repair processes.

Poster presentations
On both days during lunch, researchers from both CGC and Oncode were able to showcase their research in the poster session. All researchers had made an effort to develop something special and visually appealing. Lisa Donker, of the lab of Martijn Gloerich (UMC Utrecht, PI at CGC), won the prize for best poster with her research ‘E-cadherin adhesions mechanically sense cell density to control CDK1 activity and mitotic entry’.

Find your fellow amino acids
Apart from an interesting scientific program, networking opportunities are equally important at events like these. After the first day, a social event was hosted at Café De Tropen. To make sure everyone’s network expanded, all participants were categorized in different groups, the ‘amino acids’. The first assignment was to find your fellow amino acid members and form a group. Next, the group had to showcase ‘collaboration’ or ‘connection’ via a group picture. It is safe to say that most scientists secretly have a very creative side and many new connections were made!

Photos taken at the social event

5 & 6 November 2020: Basic biology meets cancer research
CGC and Oncode would like to thank all speakers and participants for making it a great conference. Next years’ conference will be held on 5 and 6 November, so make sure to mark your calendar!

Other News

Oncode PEP4
(Future) researchers and patients join forces to make true impact
For the second year in a row, Oncode’s Patient Engagement Programme had the opportunity to contribute to the bachelor course ‘Eye for Impact’ for biomedical sciences students at University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU). A unique example of how to give substance to patient engagement in basic research. Oncode researchers and patient representatives participated in a series of lectures and interactive sessions, where the students experienced first-hand how patients and researchers can partner up.
Jos Jonkers Daniel Zingg website
Unravelling genetic mechanism behind tumor formation can improve targeted treatment
New research by the group of Jos Jonkers explains variation in treatment response to FGFR2 inhibitors and provides a way to improve targeted therapy for cancer patients. Their work highlights the importance of analyzing the functional consequences of genetic variants found in tumors.
Chemotherapy speeds up DNA-level aging
Chemotherapy is an important part of treatment for children with cancer, contributing to the recovery of more and more children. Childhood cancer survivors do sometimes experience late effects from their treatment, including a higher risk of developing a second cancer. That risk is very small, but about five to six times greater than in the ‘normal’ population. In new research, published in Cancer Discovery, the team of Oncode Investigator Ruben Van Boxtel (Princess Máxima Center) shows that accelerated DNA aging turns out to be the main cause of the harmful effect of chemotherapy treatment.