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Ferd Janssen

PhD student

Establishing a liquid biopsy infrastructure within the Máxima, and identification / validation of liquid biopsy-based cancer biomarkers

Cancer remains the leading cause of death for children in developed countries. In order to improve diagnostics and patient care, there is a need for standardized analytical procedures based on validated cancer biomarkers. Liquid biopsies have emerged as a valuable source of such biomarkers. Potential applications include early cancer detection, real-time monitoring of therapeutic efficiency and resistance effects, and early detection of relapse. Their minimally invasive nature makes liquid biopsies especially interesting for pediatric oncology. However, application within pediatric oncology diagnostics and treatment guidance has not been widely implemented yet, and requires additional research.

If informed consent is given, patient material as well as data are systematically stored in the biobank of the Princess Máxima Center. These provide a valuable resource for performing scientific research and developing tools to improve diagnosis, follow up, as well as treatment protocols. My PhD research will focus on establishment of a Princess Máxima Center liquid biopsy infrastructure. The goal is to standardize implementation of liquid biopsy material within the biobank, further increasing the potential for research projects. In addition, I will be focusing on identifying novel and validating potential liquid biopsy-based cancer biomarkers.