Defence Against Cancer Foundation
Research pays off in the fight against cancer
One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. Research into new treatment methods are therefore of the utmost importance. The Tumor Immunology Laboratory (TIL) of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands, has developed a new method for treating cancer: immunotherapy through dendritic cell vaccination. This method is based on the concept that our own immune system is important in suppressing cancer cells and could be used to fight the cancer cells. The research of the TIL aims to get a better understanding of the mechanisms and possible application of this process.
Since the start of the clinical application of dendritic cell vaccination, some 300 patients have been treated with this experimental method. Treatment is currently being applied to three types of cancer: melanoma (skin cancer and uveal melanoma), colon cancer and Kahler’s disease (cancer of the white blood cells). The objective is to expand the research and treatment stepwise to other types of cancer.
From research to treatment
The Radboud University Center for Oncology (RUCO) coordinates the entire field of oncology research within the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUNMC). This centre is unique in its kind in The Netherlands, and was founded through cooperation between different departments, clinics within RUNMC and other universities. The oncology research covers scientific experiments and ‘translational research’, which specifically aims to bridge the gap between experiments and everyday patient treatment. The research group of the TIL plays an important part in this process due to its pioneering research into (the application of) immunotherapy.
The final objective of the research is to develop a vaccine with which cancer can be successfully treated, or even prevented. Developing a dendritic cell vaccine is however a costly process. It takes three analysts nine days to cultivate the cells, which in turn has to be done in expensive cleanrooms with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to safeguard quality. Because of these expenses, the TIL currently lacks the resources to mobilize enough manpower and facilities to treat more patients and to expand the research activities.
The TIL receives funds from the Dutch KWF Cancer Society and from various European funds, but still runs some 20% short. The RUNMC would happily fill the gap, but of course this would go at the expense of other important projects. The pharmaceutical industry in turn, is primarily interested in drugs that can be produced on a mass scale. But a patient-specific vaccine unfortunately is not suitable for mass production.
The Defence Against Cancer Foundation therefore aims to collect enough funds to provide the necessary resources for research, because, as everyone is at risk of developing cancer, everyone deserves to have hope for a cure.
How could you help?
The bank account number of the Defense Against Cancer Foundation is: NL35RABO0137833806. BIC: RABONL2U