Our website uses cookies. We use cookies to remember settings and to help provide you with the best experience we can. We also use cookies to continuously improve our website by compiling visitor statistics. Read more about cookies

Scientific director Alexander Eggermont steps down

Today, Prof. dr. Alexander Eggermont bids farewell to the Princess Máxima Center. During his term on the board, important steps were made in the field of international collaboration and immunotherapy, among other things. Eggermont fulfilled the role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for four and a half years. He will be succeeded by Prof. dr. René Medema as of April 1.

During Eggermont's term on the board, two items were at the top of his agenda in addition to the further development of Máxima as a research hospital: International collaboration and immunotherapy.

In the presence of HM Queen Máxima, the Twinning program with the Hopp-KiTZ pediatric tumor center in Heidelberg, Germany, was launched in 2021. Since then, 21 joint studies have been launched. Another leading research center is poised to join the initiative later this year. Eggermont: 'By bringing the researchers of these centers together, a great deal of knowledge and expertise will come together. This makes international, integrated research at a top level possible! Above all, we are creating a critical mass to be able to start projects with which we hope to achieve the breakthroughs needed to achieve our mission.'

First-class research

Under Eggermont's leadership, the structural foundation has also been laid for high-quality research on immunotherapy in children. Compared to adult oncology, this is a field that is lagging behind. By attracting specialists from the Netherlands and abroad, new lines of research were started. There is now also a solid foundation in the form of the facilities needed for research and clinical studies focused on immunotherapy. 'Our commitment is research-driven. Certain preconditions, such as the cell therapy facility, knowledge of specialists and a good infrastructure for clinical studies, are necessary to achieve our scientific goals. Thanks to the commitment and exceptional drive of many, we have been able to create these conditions to conduct first-class research.'

Extraordinary environment

Working at the Princess Máxima Center has made a deep and lasting impression on Eggermont: 'The Máxima is no ordinary children's hospital, it is a showcase of what can and what is possible within pediatric oncology. In terms of research, care and the connection between both. There is an enormous drive within the entire organization to achieve our mission. For example, through laboratory research, data analysis, knowledge sharing and the provision of care. How we focus on comfort for the child, but also the family. And how, through the combination of the design of the building and our care, we manage to create a second home for them. It is an extraordinary environment where I have enjoyed working with very great pleasure.'

In Germany lies Eggermont's next mission. He has been appointed chairman of the board of the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Munich. There he will focus on bringing together the oncology programs of two major teaching hospitals and improving the infrastructure for clinical trials. Eggermont will be succeeded by Prof. dr. René Medema. As of April 1, Medema fills the role of Chief Scientific Officer at Máxima.