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02Apr 2019

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Chair experimental immunobiology of cancer for Karin de Visser

Prof. Karin de Visser is appointed an endowed professor of Experimental Immunobiology of Cancer, in particular of the tumour microenvironment, at Leiden University from April 1, 2019.

At the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) she will focus on research into how the immune system influences the formation of metastases and the effectiveness of cancer treatments, with a focus on breast cancer.

Karin de Visser has been appointed on behalf of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and remains head of her research group within the Tumour Biology & Immunology Department.

Role of the immune system in cancer

With her appointment to the Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion (IHB) at the LUMC, she hopes to combine her expertise and that of the LUMC research groups. De Visser: "By joining forces we can gain new knowledge more quickly about the role of the immune system in cancer, with the ultimate goal of improving cancer treatment."

Broader immunology

She explains: "For many years the LUMC has been one of the leaders in the field of tumour immunology. The LUMC is also very strong in immunological research in the context of other diseases. Because we focus on cancer immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute it is very important to be closely connected to the latest developments in broader immunology. I, therefore, expect to learn a lot from the research into autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammations.

Myeloid immune cells

Conversely, de Visser will bring unique expertise to the LUMC research into tumour biology and tumour immunology. "Cancer immunology research is often focused on T cells while our research is also focused on other, myeloid, immune cells that play an important role in cancer. We also have unique mouse models to study cancer metastasis and the role of the immune system in this at the Netherlands Cancer Institute."

VICI grant

In February Karin de Visser received a VICI grant from NWO to investigate how genetic changes in breast cancer cells influence the immune system of patients. De Visser's research group is also affiliated with the Oncode Institute.

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