Thanks to translational research – research in collaboration with doctors and patients – we expect to be able to vastly improve the life expectancy and quality of life of patients with autoimmune diseases and cancer in the coming decade. In the O|2 Lab Building, use is being made of advanced infrastructure in areas such as immunomonitoring (i.e. measuring the immune response of patients at blood, tumour and lymph node level), vaccine development and antibody production, advanced microscopy and the sorting of immune cells.
Another of our ambitions is to set up an interdisciplinary immunotherapy centre together with researchers from Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA). The goal is to bring together fundamental translational-clinical research in expert teams which make use of state-of-the-art equipment. This will also attract small biotech companies (e.g. spin-offs) and major pharma firms for clinical studies, as well as facilitating leading translational research with a good chance of attracting funding in the form of external grants.
From bench to bedside and back again
This facilitates oncological-immunological research on potential biomarkers and the implementation of new cancer immunotherapies in the clinic.
Using state-of-the-art equipment, researchers are able to carry out, coordinate and pool translational research. As a result, immunotherapies (whether planned or currently applied, developed within VUmc-CCA or initiated by pharmaceutical companies) can be studied from bench to bedside, and back again. This will lead to the acquisition of mechanistic understanding and the development of prognostic and predictive immunological biomarkers to determine which patients will respond best to therapy and to develop new therapies and combination therapies. This will result in more effective customized therapy and lead to greater success in curing cancer patients.