28 October 2021
In memoriam: Boelien Geerts
Sadly, we received the news that Boelien Geerts, one of the first patient representatives of Oncode’s Patient Engagement Programme, passed away on October 14 from the effects of lung cancer. Her absence will certainly be felt. We can openly say that Boelien was very active and committed to Oncode Institute’s efforts and mission. She contributed to our Patient Engagement Programme and inspired our researchers through her novel ideas, perspectives, and discussions based on her personal experiences and knowledge, and driven by a lot of enthusiasm.
21 October 2021
In memoriam: David Morse Livingston, MD
Oncode Institute and its research community were saddened by the news of the unexpected death of David M. Livingston, MD. Livingston was the Deputy Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center; Chief of the Charles A. Dana Division of Human Cancer Genetics, and the Emil Frei Professor of Genetics and Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was also the chair of Oncode’s International Advisory Board.
21 October 2021
Oncode Institute supports new preclinical collaboration between HepaRegeniX and the NKI
HepaRegeniX GmbH, a clinical stage company developing novel therapies for the treatment of acute and chronic liver diseases, announced a collaboration with the NKI to investigate HepaRegeniX’ new drug candidate HRX-0233 in preclinical in vivo models with Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS) mutant tumors. Oncode’s Valorization Team supported the contract negotiations.
19 October 2021
New research uncovers growth dynamics of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive disease and patients diagnosed with PDAC have a very poor prognosis. It has been speculated that a rare population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for tumor growth, therapy resistance, and rapid metastatic progression in PDAC. The purported CSC populations were discovered by in vitro clonogenic assays and transplantation assays in mice. However, their relevance in established PDAC tissue has not been determined. Importantly these assays were mostly dependent on the expression of a specific marker, therefore the functionality of cell populations not expressing these markers remained untested. A new study by Oncode Investigator Louis Vermeulen and co-investigators Sophie Lodestijn and Maarten Bijlsma (all Amsterdam UMC), published today in Cell Reports, changes that. Their results can have important implications for the treatment of PDAC.
12 October 2021
“I need to know that what I do matters”
Despite her busy schedule, physician-scientist, gastroesophageal cancer specialist and Oncode Investigator Sarah Derks (Amsterdam UMC, VUmc site) took time out to participate in the Darm to Darm cycling challenge: a charity biking race from Amsterdam to Darmstadt (Germany). What motivated her to do so, and what makes her tick both professionally and personally?
1 October 2021
Two Oncode researchers win the International Birnstiel Award
Oncode Institute is proud to announce that two Oncode researchers have won the 2021 International Birnstiel Award for Doctoral Studies in Molecular Life Sciences. Sanne Boersma (Hubrecht Institute, Marvin Tanenbaum Group) and Sanne van Neerven (Amsterdam University Medical Center, Louis Vermeulen Group) are among the six winners this year.
30 September 2021
Science meets forest in the heart of the Netherlands: highlights of Oncode’s first Postdoc Retreat
Here is a recipe: take a group of postdoc researchers from different Oncode labs and bring them to De Werelt, this beautiful and calm location in the middle of the Netherlands, surrounded by forest. Have them stay for two days. Add scientific sessions covering a wide variety of topics and alternate with collaborative pitches for participants. Add two keynote lectures, a debate, a poster session and an extensive workshop on Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship as well. Season it all with exploratory career discussions, with five different guests working in different fields. Finally, mix in lots of breaks for informal talks and networking. The result is Oncode’s first Postdoc Retreat that took place last week.
28 September 2021
History of successful STRIP consortium published in Nature Biotechnology
In March 2020, Oncode Investigators Marvin Tanenbaum and Wouter de Laat (group leaders at the Hubrecht Institute) brought together a large group of researchers at the Hubrecht Institute to support the Netherlands in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, testing for COVID was extremely difficult. The researchers got in touch with scientists at Genmab, specialists in molecular biology automation, and together started the STRIP consortium. STRIP developed and implemented a test robot (lovingly called ‘the Beast’) with the capacity to make PCR testing possible on a much larger scale and more cost effective. The test protocol, as well as a history of this extraordinary consortium, is now published in Nature Biotechnology.
28 September 2021
Paving the way for treatment of AML patients with EVI1 gene expression
Amongst AML (acute myeloid leukemia) patients, a subgroup in which the EVI1 gene is overexpressed has a very poor outcome, with low response to treatment and a high need for new treatment strategies. The activation of this oncogene is caused by chromosomal rearrangements on the long arm of chromosome 3. The exact mechanism was however unclear. Previous work from Oncode Investigator Ruud Delwel’s group at Erasmus MC showed that in both inv(3)/t(3;3) as well as other 3q26 rearranged AMLs, an enhancer is hijacked and drives oncogenic expression of EVI1. Now two new manuscripts of his group, of which one published today in Nature Communications, report on the mechanisms that cause overexpression of this EVI1 oncogene, which may provide new angles to identify strategies to modulate EVI1 expression for treatment of AML.
7 September 2021
Evidence for safety: stem cell transplants do not lead to changes in the DNA
A new study from the group of Oncode Investigator Ruben van Boxtel shows that stem cell transplants do not lead to changes in the DNA of the donor cells. This conclusion provides important evidence for the safety of this procedure. Stem cell transplants can form part of the treatment for children with certain types of leukemia.
1 September 2021
Oncode Institute co-lead of major consortium studying therapy resistance in cancer
90% of people who die from cancer respond well to the first treatment, but the cancer is fatal upon its return. In these cases, the tumor has often become resistant to the treatment that initially worked. PERSIST-SEQ, a new international consortium of academic and industry experts in cancer research, will spend the next 5 years intensively investigating why cancer often returns after treatment.
26 August 2021
The added value and simplicity of data management: the how, the why and what sound data management can bring to your lab
Making it transparent, reproducible, re-usable – the benefits of good data management are manifold. In Monique den Boer’s lab at the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology, the structured practices of data management are now part of the lab’s culture. This has brought not only a wealth of data that everyone can use, but also various international collaborations and publications. We spoke to Judith Boer, long-time data steward within the lab, about the easy but efficient structure she devised and implemented, and the challenges and long-term benefits of storing data well.
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