On the 19th of May 2020, our dear colleague and friend Professor Dr. Huib Ovaa passed away at the age of 46. In the past year, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Huib underwent a variety of treatments. Always with his usual optimism. He continued to work as much as possible and tried to keep the burden of his fight against cancer away from the people around him.
We had been looking forward very much to meeting all of you at our next ICI Conference. Due to multiple cancellations, including some from speakers, and due to the expectation that more cancellations will follow due to the Corona Virus outbreak, we unfortunately have to cancel the upcoming 6th ICI Conference. We regret this decision very much. We will inform you within the next few weeks if the Conference will be held at a later date this year.
Executive Board member Prof. Carl Figdor has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant of € 2.5 million.
In the ‘ARTimmune’ project, Carl Figdor focuses on the intriguing, novel idea of creating injectable synthetic lymph nodes to attack tumours more directly. His idea may have important implications for clinics. Currently, many cancer patients are failing to respond to immune therapy and new strategies are desperately needed.
Chemist Mario van der Stelt was appointed Professor of Molecular Physiology at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry with effect from 1 November 2017. On Friday October 19th 2018 he gave his inaugural lecture entitled Body's own marijuana: inspiration for drug research.
The full lecture (in Dutch) can be found here.
Prof. Hidde Ploegh has been appointed professor Chemical Immunology, in particular biochemistry of the immune system, at the LUMC. He will take on the Jon J. van Rood Chair effective as of September 1st.
Improved method for quality control of biopharmaceuticals
Apart from its illicit usage by top athletes, EPO is a medicine for patients who suffer from anemia. The production of this therapeutically-used EPO and similar biological medicines can now be taken to the next level through a method developed by researchers from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and Copenhagen University, Denmark. Their method allows to discern and classify EPO variants they design and produce, finetuning their glycosylation content in the process. This is essential in the optimization of the production of EPO variants that benefit each patient best. The results of their study were published in Nature Communications on the 21st of August 2018.
ICI Executive Board member Albert Heck (Utrecht University) is to receive two international distinctions this summer for his work in biochemistry and mass spectrometry: the prestigious Sir Hans Krebs Medal and the Thomson Medal and Prize. 'It is a wonderful and special honour, especially since they are two completely different awards.'
On September 17th, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) will install 21 new members, including ICI executive board member Hermen Overkleeft (Leiden University). Since its inception, the Academy has been a learned society of outstanding Dutch scientists and scholars. Membership is awarded on the basis of scientific and scholarly achievement. Members are appointed for life
What determines cell fate?
Vaccination is a powerful strategy to induce the activation of tumor‐specific effector immune cells, which is key for successful immunotherapy. However, the generation of effective anticancer nanovaccines is challenging. One of these challenges is the efficient co-encapsulation of antigenic peptides or proteins together with antigen-presenting cell activating adjuvants because of their differential physicochemical properties.