The Dutch Cancer Society has awarded Amsterdam UMC 5.5 million euro for cancer research. The money awarded is part of a funding round in 2021 of 30 million euro. Ten Amsterdam UMC projects were approved (see below).

Research and treatment of colon cancer
The majority of the funds is directed to four projects involving the research and treatment of colon cancer, including two studies into the hereditary condition Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP). Evelien Dekker will lead a research team comparing the long-term outcomes of treatments, to arrive at new guidelines and personalized advice for FAP patients.

Lithium for the prevention of polyps
In the other study on FAP, Louis Vermeulen investigates whether it is possible to prevent polyp formation. Preliminary research showed that lithium effectively disrupts polyp formation. Lithium is a cheap drug that is often prescribed for patients with schizophrenia. In an exploratory study, Vermeulen will examine whether lithium is effective in preventing polyps in a small group of FAP patients.

Research into the growth of colon cancer
David Huels is also conducting research into the growth of colon cancer, with a focus on the extracellular matrix. This structure gives tissue firmness and plays a regulatory role in communication between cells. Huels expects that the composition of this matrix influences the development of colon cancer.

Treatment of metastases to the peritoneum
Hans Crezee is working on the treatment of metastases to the peritoneum. His research focuses on improving the hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) procedure by investigating if varying the dose and temperature of the heat treatment can make chemotherapy more effective, without increasing the risk of side effects.

Maarten Bijlsma is also researching treatment options for peritoneal metastases. His team examines the molecular properties of these tumors to identify (combinations of) drugs that are effective against them. If successful in the laboratory, the tailored treatment will be tested in future clinical trials.

There are an estimated 800,000 Dutch people living with cancer or its consequences. That makes it important to look beyond just treating the tumor and consider the quality of life for these people. Hans Knoop will initiate a study how to appropriately address fatigue in cancer patients, one of the most common and long-lasting complaints after cancer treatment. Although several effective treatments have been developed in recent years, only a minority of patients with fatigue receive these therapies. Knoop will investigate how treatment of fatigue can be improved and how to better connect patients suffering from fatigue with the care they need.

The ten research projects of Amsterdam UMC that have received funding from the Dutch Cancer Society:

  • Prof. Evelien Dekker: A new era in the treatment of patients with familial adenomatous polyposis: towards personalized care. (€ 820.704)
  • Prof. Louis Vermeulen: Effect of lithium on polyp formation in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. (€ 421.518)
  • Dr. Maarten Bijlsma: Effective treatments for colon cancer peritoneal metastases. (€ 710.680)
  • Dr. Hans Crezee: Improving effectiveness and minimizing toxicity of HIPEC treatment for colorectal peritoneal metastases by applying step-up heating during HIPEC. (€ 606.530)
  • Prof. Hans Knoop: Care for Fatigue: Understanding the discrepancy between the high prevalence of fatigue and the low use of supportive care. (€ 454.627)
  • Dr. Elisa Giovannetti: Central role of exosomes in liver colonization and for selection of effective drugs against metastatic pancreatic cancer. (€ 599.052)
  • Prof. Martin Klein: Targeted, risk-based treatment in adolescent and adult patients with medulloblastoma. (€ 380.878)
  • Dr. Anna Bruynzeel: Randomized trial of local treatment with high-dose precision radiation in vulnerable (elderly) patients with locally limited pancreatic cancer. (€ 452.487)
  • Dr. Job de Lange: PARP inhibitors in STAG2 mutated tumors: a unique opportunity for new therapy. (€ 464.028)
  • Dr. David Huels: Colon development and colon cancer is controlled by the extracellular matrix. (€ 593.195)