“The most exciting aspect of my research group is that we are working on unconventional treatment methods. What sets us apart is that multiple discoveries from our lab are currently finding their way into clinical practice. The main challenge in cancer is that cells start dividing uncontrollably, becoming tumor cells. The first step towards a solution is to halt this process of division. We are able to put these tumor cells into a kind of hibernation using a drug. While dormant, tumor cells emit a signal that activates the immune system. But that’s not enough – some cells wake up after their hibernation and regain their threat potential. We have to deliver an additional blow while these cells are dormant using a second drug. To understand how we can best deliver such a blow to dormant cells, I learned a new technique at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, affiliated with Harvard University. It’s located in Boston, USA – a city bursting with creative energy. You can run into world-renowned scientists in nearly every pub. It’s so inspiring! I hope to be able to return there someday.”
Fleur will defend her thesis on October 26.
This research was financially made possible in part by the European Research Council (ERC), Mark Foundation, and Oncode Institute.
prof. dr. R. Bernards