VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam

Mission:  to prevent and cure cancer and immunological diseases, and to increase the survival rate. Focus of research: early diagnostics, personalized treatment and quality of life.

Research programs

Covers viral oncogenesis, progression and early diagnosis, as well as genetic predisposition and cancer genes.

Covers both fundamental and pre-clinical  research into the immunological processes underlying homeostasic control, in relation with inflammatory diseases and cancer.

Disease profiling
We want to identify new determinants for the diagnosis, prognosis and tailored treatment of immunologica and oncological diseases.

Innovative therapy
Covers targeted therapy for development
of personalized medicine, including radiotherapy,
surgery and systemic therapy, as well as immunotherapy.

Quality of life
Encompasses research within the field of quality of life in childhood, and in adult patients.

Professor Tanja de Gruijl: ‘Cancer Immunotherapy is going places!’

After years of being frowned upon by ‘mainstream’ oncology researchers, immunotherapy of cancer is set to transform the field. These are exciting times for Tanja de Gruijl, Professor of Translational Tumor Immunology. ‘The clinical successes achieved recently demonstrate that by taking off their molecular brakes, primed antitumor immune cells can attack and kill tumor cells in a highly efficient fashion. This can lead to durable tumor regression in patients.’

A matter of ‘push and pull’
Tumors have developed means to subvert and escape the immune response. Prof. de Gruijl explains: ‘Getting an effective immune response against cancer started is a matter of push and pull. On the one hand we need to activate and re-awaken (‘push’) the antitumor immune response; on the other hand we need to alleviate tumor-imposed immune suppression (‘pull’).’

Tight links between lab and clinic
Innovative research in her lab aims to apply these strategies locally, in tumors and their draining lymph nodes, to induce lasting immunity with minimal side effects. ‘The VUmc-CCA provides a unique and perfect setting to rapidly translate our findings to the patient. And that’s what it’s all about.’