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KiKa awards €3M to nine Máxima researchers

Better understanding why leukemia returns, optimizing stem cell transplants or developing a new form of chemotherapy for children with a brain tumor. These are just some of the nine projects at the Princess Máxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology that will be funded by KiKa as of today. The projects, which will all start this year, will receive around €3 million from KiKa.

Each of the KiKa-funded studies contributes to achieving the mission of the research hospital the Princess Máxima Centre: to cure every child with cancer, with optimal quality of life. The research ranges from fundamental DNA research and the development of new treatments to providing care of the highest quality.

Targeted and less toxic treatments

Group leader Dr. Ruben van Boxtel is spending the research funds on a project with colleague Dr. Friederike Meyer-Wentrup. He explains: 'Although the survival of children with Hodgkin's lymphoma has increased enormously in recent decades, children often suffer from chronic health problems later on due to their earlier treatment. This treatment consists mainly of intense chemotherapy. I want to investigate whether a more targeted treatment reduces these late toxic effects. We still know very little about the driving forces behind the development of Hodgkin lymphoma. In our research, we are using new ways to study these forces at the cellular level. This may ultimately contribute to more targeted treatment for children with this form of cancer, with less toxicity.'

Better understanding of the outcomes after cerebellar mutism syndrome

Dr. Marita Partanen, Dr. Kirsten van Baarsen, and Dr. Maarten Lequin will use the awarded money for an international project to better understand outcomes after Cerebellar mutism syndrome (CMS). Dr. Partanen: ‘This devastating syndrome occurs in some children who are operated for a posterior fossa tumor in the brain. They develop problems with talking, behavior and movement, for example, as a result. At the moment, we don't know why CMS occurs. Therefore, together with my colleagues, we are going to look for what can predict outcomes for children with CMS in the short or long term. These insights may help us to develop new treatments in the future.’  

New innovative research essential

In total, KiKa awards funding to 12 studies. Martine van Keimpema, KiKa research coordinator: 'New innovative research is essential in the fight against childhood cancer. KiKa is delighted that yet another series of studies can be started. The results of their research bring us one step closer to our goal: 100% cure with optimal quality of life. Our gratitude is therefore great to all loyal donors and campaigners who make this important work possible.'