New strategy to tackle 'don't eat me' signal on cancer cells

Myeloid immune cells kill cancer cells by eating them but cancer cells prevent this from happening by giving out a 'do not eat me' signal. In a collaborative effort, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Oncode, Leiden University Medical Center and University Medical Center Utrecht have discovered a new method to inhibit the 'don't eat me' signal, and have therefore found a new strategy for immunotherapy.

On 4 March 2019, the researchers published an article on this topic in the scientific journal > Nature Medicine.
Another publication you find in > Medicalxpress


Two patients HIV-free after stem cell transplantation

Researchers are one step closer to the cure for HIV. In two patients, the virus could no longer be found after they had stopped virus inhibitors. Both patients were treated for cancer by means of a stem cell transplant. The cells used for this transplant ensure that these patients are now HIV-free.

Researchers from IciStem investigated the effects of stem cell transplantation on HIV. In this study, HIV patients were treated for cancer. A part of this treatment was stem cell transplantation. With such a transplant, the immune system is replaced with the help of donor stem cells. The transplanted stem cells then ensure the formation of new blood cells. Virologist dr. Anne Wensing of UMC Utrecht is one of the main researchers at IciStem. She says: "The stem cell transplant was part of the treatment of cancer. In addition, we measured the effect of stem cell transplantation on HIV. "


Investigator Marianne Boes receives grant for research into lymph node cancer vaccine

Investigator Marianne Boes from UMC Utrecht received a check of more than 300,000 euros from prince Bernhard van Oranje during the “Hollandse 100”, a sporting event aiming to raise funds for research into lymph node cancer. With the proceeds, Marianne will conduct research into a new form of immune therapy against this disease.

Dr. Marianne Boes (Laboratory for Translational Immunology at UMC Utrecht) is investigating the possibility to develop a vaccine that can treat lymph node cancer. This type of treatment is already under investigation for several types of cancer, but not yet for lymph node cancer. Boes and her colleagues are looking for pieces of tumor cells that are not on healthy lymph node cells. These pieces can then be injected into the patient, causing the immune system to attack and clean up the tumor. For this research, the UMC Utrecht group collaborates with researchers including dr. Friederike Meyer-Wentrup from the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. The goal is to develop vaccines for various forms of lymph node cancer in both adults and children.

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Also items in Trouw and 
the Volkskrant.



Last month the first cancer patient was treated with a gene and cell therapy developed at UMC Utrecht. This form of immunotherapy is currently being administered to treated patients with Kahler's disease and acute myeloid leukemia. The purpose of this first phase is primarily to investigate whether TEG001 cells can be administered safely. This has now been achieved with the first patient. The dose at this stage of the study is probably too low to actually be therapeutic. The researchers hope that the malignant cells will be (temporarily) inhibited.

First patient receives gene and cell therapy developed at UMC Utrecht


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