Added Value

Biomedical research has become ‘big science’ in the last decade, requiring collaborative networks of scientists from many different disciplines as well as large investments in equipment and infrastructure. CGC.nl brings together international experts on key technologies in the field, including DNA sequence analysis, expression profiling, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, microscopy and functional screening; international experts on the biology of cancer; and internationally recognized clinicians that can bridge the gap between basic science and the clinic.

Living biobank
Unique to this consortium is the development of a ‘living’ biobank from primary tumors to study responses to cancer drugs. Current ‘in vitro’ cancer research in the laboratory typically involves the use of cancer-derived cell lines, which are widely known to have inherent limitations. Cancer research is therefore invariably complemented with experiments in (genetically modified) mice and other animal species. The Clevers lab has recently shown that it is possible to establish long-term cultures from a variety of adult mouse and human primary tissues and cancers (‘organoids’), which can be expanded for many months in vitro without genetic or phenotypic changes.

This ‘living biobank’ from primary human tumors and surrounding healthy tissue allows the integration of whole genome-sequence data with a variety of functional analyses of the tumor cells in vitro (chemotherapy sensitivity/resistance, signaling pathway analysis, cell cycle/DNA repair analyses, etc). These results can be directly correlated with patient outcome. We believe that such Primary Cancer Organoid Cultures (PCOCs) will become invaluable tools for the development of novel drugs, and for innovative personalized medicine strategies. Primary tumor material, available from the clinical trials coordinated by the Centre for Personalized Cancer Treatment (CPCT) provide a major source of tissue for the 3D PCOC models. This has the distinct advantage that within the CPCT genomic sequence information is available, as well as the patient’s response to (combinations of) targeted cancer drugs.

Collaboration
In our consortium we have brought together internationally well-established cancer research groups and very promising junior groups in the Netherlands, with a common mission that should lead to a significantly improved life expectancy and quality of life for cancer patients. Although most of the groups receive considerable funding for individual projects and for infrastructure, funds from the Gravitation program are used to unleash the combined knowledge, expertise and infrastructure for this collaborative effort and to have a vehicle with which to rapidly and collectively respond to new developments.

Infrastructure
In the consortium, we share and have invested in expensive equipment, such as a platforms for quantifying growth of cells in the 3D organoid cultures, deep tissue multiphoton microscopy, laser scanning microscopy, next generation sequencing, and protein production and characterization. This will have an impact beyond the individual participating groups and will benefit the entire community of cancer researchers in the participating institutes.

Impact
We anticipate that CGC.nl will have a significant impact on our understanding of the cancer process and on utilizing that knowledge for a better treatment of the individual patient. As the cancer problem will not be solved by an individual group or by a single country, international collaborations will remain vital to ultimately bring cancer under control. We anticipate that the CGC.nl, including our “living biobank”, will be a very attractive partner in such international collaborations.

News

12 Jan 2018

annual CGC meeting 2018

All CGC.nl researchers are welcome, however registration is required.

28 Nov 2017

ERC grant for Michiel Vermeulen

Michiel Vermeulen, one of our CGC group leaders, was awarded a prestigious ERC-Consolidator Grant.

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17 Nov 2017

Fumagalli wins CGC poster prize

Arianna Fumagalli received the 2017 poster award during the CGC meeting New Horizons in Cancer Research

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Agenda

10 & 11 Jan 2019

CGC-Oncode annual scientific meeting

Annual meeting for the CGC and Oncode scientific community

08 & 09 Nov 2018

CGC-Oncode annual conference

Oncode and the Cancer Genomics Centre are pleased to host our annual joint scientific meeting at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. This year's topic is “From tissues to cells to molecules: multi-scale visualization of cancer processes”. More information will follow in due course

09 - 13 Jul 2018

Eurolife Summer School 2018

The Eurolife Summer School 2018 is entitled Molecular Mechanisms in Cancer – Translating Discoveries into Personalised Therapies. 

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