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Groups within research area Pharmacology


Alfred Schinkel

Improving Drug Efficacy


We are interested in the proteins and organ systems responsible for susceptibility and resistance to anticancer drugs. Drug resistance is one of the major barriers to effective cancer treatment, and is often due to reduced uptake or increased efflux of the drug in tumor cells. Other problems include the toxicity of many anticancer drugs to normal tissues, and the variable tissue and tumor distribution found in each patient. Moreover, how drugs move around the body also determines in part how efficiently they can tackle the disease. Using knockout and transgenic mouse models, we aim to better understand the way the body handles drugs, thereby supporting the optimization of clinical chemotherapy.

Many of the proteins we study also have important physiological functions, often in the detoxification of endogenous potentially toxic compounds and metabolites. We therefore also have a strong interest in understanding these physiological functions, which can be studied readily in the knockout and transgenic mouse strains we generate. Basic insights into these physiological functions can also improve prediction of the consequences of chemotherapy approaches in which the activity of one or more of the detoxifying proteins is modulated to improve efficacy of drug therapy.

Thirdly, the proteins and systems we study are relevant in the handling of exogenous toxins and carcinogens by the body. We therefore also assess the in vivo impact of these systems on the susceptibility to dietary carcinogens and toxins. The activity of virtually all of the systems we analyze can vary dramatically, due to genetic polymorphisms or mutations, and gene induction or repression, or direct protein inhibition by dietary or pharmaceutical compounds (drug-drug interactions). Insight into their in vivo roles is therefore crucial in better understanding and potentially circumventing physiological, pharmacological and toxicological challenges to the body.

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Jan Schellens

Personalized Cancer Treatment


Jan Schellens is interested in the clinical implementation of personalized cancer treatment. His group develops and validates biomarkers and assays to predict antitumor activity and toxicity of novel and existing anticancer drugs. They also collaborate with the Erasmus Medical Center and the University Medical Center Utrecht, and together they have formed the Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment (CPCT) (see, whose mission is to offer personalized therapy to every cancer patient. In addition, Jan's work as a clinical pharmacologist is focused on increasing the efficacy of anticancer drugs for testing in clinical trials.

More about the Jan Schellens group

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