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Hyperthermia and radiobiology

Research interests

1)  Enhancing radiotherapy or chemotherapy with DNA repair inhibiting agents, such as hyperthermia and PARP1-inhibitors. In the laboratory these sensitization effects are investigated and potential new treatment combinations are tested, both in cell lines and animal experiments. Hyperthermia is a local treatment, in which the tumour is heated up to 41- 43 C for approximately one hour. As a cancer treatment, hyperthermia should always be combined with either radiotherapy of chemotherapy; as a single therapy, hyperthermia is not effective in treating cancer. This is due to the fact that both radiotherapy (ionizing radiation) and chemotherapy induce DNA lesions. The most severe lesions are DNA double strand breaks (DSB). These DSB are repaired by two major repair pathways, Non-Homologous end-joining (NHEJ) and Homologous Recombination repair (HR). Hyperthermia treatment of 1 h at 42 C can inhibit the HR repair via a transient degradation of the BRCA2 protein which one of the major proteins of this pathway. In the laboratory we investigate the biological effects of hyperthermia in in vitro cell cultures. One of the research topics is the study of the DNA damage repair pathway. DNA repair proteins that accumulate at the sites of the DSB are studied with fluorescently labelled antibodies and studied with the fluorescence microscope. 

2) In our laboratory we also study the effects of hyperthermia (in combination treatments) on tumours infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). From clinical studies it is known that hyperthermia is very effective on cervical cancers, of which almost all tumours are infected with HPV. In our laboratory we found that hyperthermia can disrupt the interaction between the HPV-protein E6 and tumor suppressor protein p53, which causes activite p53 resulting in more cell kill. More recently, we investigated the effects of combination treatments of radiotherapy or chemotherapy with hyperthermia and immune checkpoint inhibitors on the effectiveness on the primary tumour growth and on distant metastases (in animal models).  

3) Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is used to treat peritoneal metastases of colon cancer. In our laboratory we are focussing on developming personalized HIPEC treatment. This involves thorough investigations of different hyperthermia temperatures and durations, and various chemotherapeutic agents on multiple cell lines and mouse models.

4) Development of tests to predict normal tissue damage after radiotherapy and/or hyperthermia. Normal tissue damage after radiotherapy is a major problem in the clinic. Therefore in the lab special markers are investigated that can predict late normal tissue damage.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Board Member, European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ESHO)

1 Jan 2022 → …

Course coordinator Radiobiology, Onderzoeksschool Oncology Amsterdam (OOA)

1 Jan 2022 → …

Secretary of Treasurer, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Radiobiology (NVRB)

1 Jan 2021 → …

Teacher ESHO School - Radiobiology, European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ESHO)

2021 → …

Secretary of the Board, Thermal Therapy Netherlands (TTNL)

1 Sept 2019 → …

Editor, “Stichting Olijf”, the Netherlands

1 Jun 2019 → …

Board member, Society for Thermal Medicine (STM)

1 Jan 20171 Jan 2022

Teacher Radiobiology (Radiation Protection level 3/3M/5b), LUMC

1 Jan 20161 Jan 2020

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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