van Oers M.H.J.: Pathogenesis and Immunotherapy of B cell malignancies

Project Details


The main line of research addresses pathogenesis and (immuno)therapy of B cell malignancies, with a strong focus on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). We concentrate on three areas:
a. Signals from the microenvironment affecting CLL survival and chemo-resistance. In CLL cells from lymph nodes we found increased expression of anti-apoptotic molecules like BCLXL and MCL1 and decreased levels of pro-apoptotic molecules like Noxa . This might be explained by protective signals from the microenvironment in the secondary lymphoid organs, making these into “privileged” sites, responsible for chemotherapy resistance. This offers new targets for therapy.;
b. New treatments that circumvent micro-environmental and p53-related chemo-resistance;
c. Murine models for CLL that incorporate aspects 1 and 2.
We have recently founded LYMMCARE, the Lymphoma and Myeloma Center Amsterdam, a close collaboration between the AMC departments of Clinical Hematology, Experimental Immunology and Pathology. LYMMCARE provides a strong interaction between translational and clinical research, aimed at improving the treatment of patients with CLL, non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
A second line of research addresses the immunological mechanisms in autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and its consequences for immune activation. Moreover we develop new strategies for its treatment and prevention. This is performed in close collaboration with the department of immunopathology at Sanquin (Dr Zeerleder).
Finally, in the setting of our clinical transplantation program we study immunological aspects of stem cell transplantation, notably recovery of both innate and acquired immunity after autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation (Dr Hazenberg) and the role of the innate immune system in Graft versus Host (GvH) disease (Dr Zeerleder). Moreover we will start murine studies on the role of the gut microbiome in GvH.
We are principal investigator in a number of international phase III studies in CLL
Effective start/end date1/01/2006 → …