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T-cell immunotherapies and rare brain tumors - step by step towards more insight

Florijn Dekkers is a senior researcher in Anne Rios' research group: 'We make the effect of T-cell immunotherapies on mini tumors visible in the lab. Because we do this in 3D and 'live', we gain unique insight into how T-cells attack tumors. This allows us to see which form of immunotherapy appears to be the most effective, so that we can develop it further as a potential new treatment.'

Last year, Florijn received the KWF Young Investigator Award. With this grant she wants to investigate immunotherapies for diffuse midline glioma, an incurable brain tumor in children. Immunotherapy with T-cells, such as CAR-T, works well in some children with leukemia. These treatments are also promising for diffuse midline glioma, but it is not yet known which form works best for children with this brain tumor. A first step to finding this out is to investigate how communication between T-cells and tumor cells works.

From research to practice

Florijn explains what attracts her to research: ‘I find it very interesting to use the techniques we develop in our research group to look for new and better treatments for children with cancer. It motivates me enormously that this research is very relevant. It is another step towards finding a possible treatment for children with rare brain tumors for which no effective therapy is yet available.'

Florijn hopes to be able to announce the very first results of her work soon.

The month of June is all about new perspectives at the Máxima. This means that in the coming weeks we will tell you all about the developments in our research hospital. In the Máxima, care providers and researchers work closely together to constantly improve treatments. Our mission: to cure every child with cancer, with the best possible quality of life.