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Collaboration with Oncode to continue

Oncode Institute has received a five-year follow-up. With this, the collaboration between the Princess Máxima Center and the institute for fundamental cancer research also gets a continuation. Four research groups from the Máxima Center are affiliated with Oncode. The goal is to work with other Dutch researchers and industry to accelerate cancer research and translate discoveries from the lab more quickly into new treatments for children and adults.
Oncode researchers receive funding to conduct 'high-risk & high gain' research in freedom. This allows them to freely explore new ideas that could potentially lead to major advances. Researchers are also supported to take discoveries further, for example by linking them with companies.

Outsmarting cancer

Geert Kops, scientific director and head of the institute, says, 'Children and adults with cancer can only benefit from excellent science if the results from the laboratories actually reach the clinic. Oncode therefore allows researchers to collaborate intensively and proactively supports them to leverage knowledge and energetically develop research results into new, effective and affordable treatments.'

KWF Kankerbestrijding, the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, ZonMw and the Ministries of EZK, VWS and OCW are investing 92 million euros so that Oncode can continue its mission to outsmart cancer and make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

Inspire, stimulate and facilitate

From the Máxima Center, the Van Boxtel, Drost, Hoeijmakers and Rios groups are affiliated with Oncode. Prof. Dr. Jan Hoeijmakers says, 'The support, expertise and network of Oncode are crucial in order to realize our research goals. This makes fundamental research, its translation into the treatment room through clinical trials and obtaining the necessary additional funding possible.' Colleague and postdoctoral researcher in the Hoeijmakers group, Dr. Wilbert Vermeij adds, 'The Oncode Patient Engagement brainstorming session inspired us to contact patient associations. This allowed us to present our work at, among other things, a research evening and online meetings for parents of children with cancer.'

Extra motivation

Dr. Jarno Drost's research group is also part of Oncode. He says: 'With the basic funds from Oncode, I was able to invest in high-risk projects for which funding would otherwise have been difficult. This allowed me to generate preliminary research data that served as the basis for my successful NWO-Vidi application. Being part of the Oncode community also makes it easier to reach out to other scientists in the field to collaborate.'

For Drost, the Oncode Patient Engagement program was also very inspiring. 'My group members and I heard the stories of our patient partners, Nikai's parents. Nikai died of a malignant rhabdoid tumor. Hearing their stories about Nikai and sharing their experiences of his treatment journey is an additional motivation for us to do everything we can to develop new therapies for children with cancer.'