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Hans Clevers wins prestigious prize for contributions to cancer research

Prof. dr. Hans Clevers is the winner of a prestigious award for extraordinary achievement in cancer research. Clevers receives this award, the “Pezcoller-AACR Award”, for a series of groundbreaking discoveries that led to ‘mini-organs’, also known as organoids.

Hans Clevers is considered one of the world's foremost experts in adult stem cell biology. Early in his career, his research group studied the behavior of healthy bowel cells. This fundamental research revealed the workings of a particular molecular chain reaction in cells. This Wnt signaling pathway has been shown to play an important role in adult stem cells, and mutations can contribute to the development, growth and spread of bowel cancer.

The cultivation of mini-organs from stem cells has been a crucial step for cancer research: for example, new cancer drugs can now be tested on mini-tumors in the lab. Mini-tumors have also been developed for various types of childhood cancer, and they are now a widely used modeling system among research groups at the Princess Máxima Center, including the Clevers group.

The 2021 Pezcoller Foundation - International AACR Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research will be presented to Hans Clevers at the annual meeting of the AACR, the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 10-15.