Anna Østergaard is a medical student at Utrecht University and started her research at the Princess Máxima Center in June 2020. As of December 2021 she is part of the Máxima MD/PhD programme under the supervision of Prof. Rob Pieters and Prof. Monique den Boer.
In recent years the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has improved immensely. Therefore, safe therapy reduction strategies become an increasingly important area. Anna’s research focuses on possibilities of reducing therapy in ALL and specifically, in ETV6-RUNX1 ALL. Survival rates in this subgroup are almost 100% but cure has its consequence and can cause many side effects. Anna compares different treatment protocols in search of the lowest possible drug doses, while also trying to predict which ETV6-RUNX1 ALL patients have an increased risk of relapse by analyzing DNA abnormalities in individual leukemic cells. Of course, the ultimate goal is to cure as many children as possible and giving them an optimal quality of life!