Bas Mulder Award for Wieger Norde

Wieger Norde

Wieger Norde from the Laboratory of Hematology (Department of Laboratory Medicine) has received one of the first Bas Mulder Awards of 500 K Euro from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) for his project entitled "Releasing the brake on anti-tumor immunity".

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) is a very potent form of immunotherapy for patients with hematological malignancies, like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. However, tumor relapses remain a serious problem after allogeneic SCT, despite the long-term persistence of minor histocompatibility antigen (MiHA)-specific memory CD8+ T cells specific for the tumor. During the past years, we have demonstrated functional and mechanistic support that these memory T cells lose their function over time due to immune inhibition by several co-signaling pathways like the PD-l/PD-L and BTLA/HVEM pathway, thereby putting the brake on antitumor immunity.

Current insight show that an ever increasing set of co-inhibitory receptors play a pivotal role in T cell dysfunction. This project aims to identify key intracellular signaling and transcriptional regulators involved in T cell "exhaustion" by gene expression profiling and subsequently develop small molecule inhibitors that are able to reverse functional impairment of tumor-reactive T cells in transplanted patients with cancer.

The Bas Mulder award was handed out Tuesday the 9th of June in the Palais de Sports in Alpe d'Huez, as it is part of the Alpe d'HuZes campaign for supporting cancer research. It aims at supporting young talent to pursue their groundbreaking research. With this grant Wieger Norde is able to continue his research in the group of Harry Dolstra at the Laboratory of Hematology in conjunction with collaborating labs at the NCMLS and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

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