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Molecular Carcinogenesis

Divisions

Groups within research area Molecular Carcinogenesis

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René Bernards

Division
Molecular Carcinogenesis
Specialisation
Functional Cancer Genetics

Introduction

There has been a recent trend in the treatment of cancer from an approach in which the tissue of origin and the histology were the guiding principles for the choice of therapy, towards a strategy in which knowledge of the oncogenic mutations is used to select patients for treatment with highly selective drugs.

René Bernards has been promoting this transition by studying the relationships between cancer genotypes and responses to cancer drugs. His group uses functional genetic approaches to identify genes that control drug responses, as well as to identify particularly effective drug combinations that could be used to successfully treat certain cancers.

Link to e-cancer interview June 2014 

More about the René Bernards group

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Roderick Beijersbergen

Division
Molecular Carcinogenesis
Specialisation
Signaling Networks in Cancer

Introduction

Many genetic mutations in tumor cells affect signaling pathways ultimately leading to cancerous phenotypes. Components of these signaling networks are potential targets for cancer therapy, however it remains challenging to select the right drug for each tumor, and to avoid the development of drug resistance.

Roderick Beijersbergen is interested in the regulation and dynamics of signaling networks in tumor cells. His group develops and applies functional genomics approaches to identify the critical components of signaling networks that are deregulated in cancer, in order to discover possible mechanisms of drug resistance and to explore synthetic lethal interactions for developing novel anti-cancer drugs.

More about the Roderick Beijersbergen group

VanDerHeijden

Michiel van der Heijden

Division
Molecular Carcinogenesis
Specialisation
Urogenital carcinogenesis

Introduction

Molecular pathways that are specifically activated in cancer cells provide targets for new and more effective cancer treatments, so-called targeted therapies.

Michiel van der Heijden aims to advance the development of targeted therapies for treating cancer, with a specific focus on bladder cancer. For patients with advanced disease, new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Michiel and his group are searching for novel molecular targets, as well as mechanisms of drug resistance and biomarkers that can guide therapy. Through the large number of bladder cancer patients at the adjacent Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital, their discoveries can be rapidly translated into the clinic.

More about the Michiel van der Heijden group

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Lodewyk Wessels

Division
Molecular Carcinogenesis
Specialisation
Computational Biology

Introduction

The rapid advances in measurement technology have resulted in the creation of large datasets consisting of profiles of tumors and cell lines at multiple molecular levels. For example, the TCGA project has generated extensive molecular profiles for more than 5000 tumors spanning 12 tumor types. Similarly, the Cancer Genome project at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute has produced drug sensitivity data for 1000 cancer cell lines across 400 anti-cancer drugs.

These data sets provide an unprecedented opportunity to chart the molecular landscape of tumors, identifying molecular networks, and highlighting vulnerabilities, and using drug response data to design combination treatment strategies to attack these vulnerabilities in an orchestrated fashion. This requires the development and application of advanced computational approaches.

This is the core business of the Bioinformatics and Statistics group, which collaborates with many groups in the institute and across the world to further our basic understanding of cancer and to translate these findings to the clinic.

More about the Lodewyk Wessels group

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