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Molecular Oncology & Immunology: John Haanen


John Haanen, Ph.D. professorGroup Leader

About John Haanen

Research interest: Translational Immunotherapy of Cancer

In collaboration with the group of Ton Schumacher, sophisticated monitoring and dissection of immune responses that occur or develop within the immunotherapy trials are performed. In collaboration with the group of Daniel Peeper and the group of Rene Bernards, patient-derived xenograft models and in vitro synthetic lethality screens are developed to study resistance mechanisms against targeted agents, such as BRAFi in patients with BRAF V600 mutated melanomas.

In the past 10 years John Haanen has developed a close working relationship with Ton Schumacher. Their work has led to the clinical translation of DNA based vaccines and T-cell receptor gene therapy. Both DNA vaccination and TCR gene therapy were successfully developed in preclinical models. In 2005 together with Jos Beijnen and Bastiaan Nuijen from the hospital pharmacy and supported by the NKI they decided to build a GMP facility for the production of DNA vaccines, which was later extended with a cleanroom for the GMP manufacturing of cell products. In 2008 John Haanen had a short sabbatical leave to visit the lab of Steven Rosenberg at the Surgery Branch of the NIH, Bethesda, MD to be informed about treatment with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. In 2011 the first patient was treated at the NKI-AVL with TIL and up to now 6 patients have been enrolled in a pilot trial. Based on the consistent objective response rate of 40-50% of patients receiving this highly complex treatment, John Haanen in collaboration with groups in Copenhagen and Manchester has decided to start a randomized phase III trial with TIL treatment. This trial will incorporate translational research that should provide information about the precise mechanism of action of TIL and health technology assessment to measure cost-effectiveness and quality of life. 


Gomez, Raquel.jpg

Raquel Gomez-Eerland, MSc

Research Assistent


The main emphasis of my work is on the immunological function of T-cells and enhancing their anti-tumor response in vivo and in vitro. The last few years I have been involved in setting up a clinical phase I trial for TCR gene therapy in our GMP facility (AmBtu) at the Slotervaart hospital.

I furthermore participate in theScienceWithSenseproject, where we try to find solutions to cut down on the plastic consumption and costs in the research.

I studied and worked at the University of Amsterdam as a marine biologist, where I researched Sponges on Coral reefs before switching to immunology. 

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Key publications View All Publications

  • Rational design of DNA vaccines for the induction of human papillomavirus type 16 E6- and E7-specific cytotoxic T-cell responses

    Hum Gene Ther. 2012; 23:1301-12.

    Oosterhuis K, Aleyd E, Vrijland K, Schumacher TN, Haanen JB.

    Link to pubmed
  • TIL therapy broadens the tumor-reactive CD8(+) T cell compartment in melanoma patients

    Oncoimmunology. 2012; 1:409-418.

    Kvistborg P, Shu CJ, Heemskerk B, Fankhauser M, Thrue CA, Toebes M, van Rooij N, Linnemann C, van Buuren MM, Urbanus JH, Beltman JB, et al.

    Link to pubmed

Recent publications View All Publications

  • Prognostic parameters for response to enzalutamide after docetaxel and abiraterone treatment in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients; a possible time relation.

    Prostate. 2016 Jan;76(1):32-40. doi: 10.1002/pros.23094. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

    Badrising SK, van der Noort V, van den Eertwegh AJ, Hamberg P, van Oort IM, van den Berg HP, Los M, Aarts MJ, Coenen JL, Gelderblom...

    Link to pubmed
  • The branching point in erythro-myeloid differentiation.

    Cell. 2015 Dec 17;163(7):1655-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.059.

    Perié L, Duffy KR, Kok L, de Boer RJ, Schumacher TN.

    Link to pubmed


  • Office manager

    Indra Francois

  • E-mail

  • Telephone Number

    +31 20 512 2099


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