KIKA grant for Dr. Laurens van der Meer

Meer , Laurens Van Der

A grant of 437 k€ was awarded by KiKa (Kinderen Kankervrij) to Laurens van der Meer (Laboratory of Pediatric Oncology, Department of Pediatrics) and colleagues  to study the molecular pathways involved in the clearance of the protein drug Asparaginase (ASNase), a key component of the multi-drug therapy regimen that is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.

Although ASNase has been used for decades, surprisingly little is known about the factors that control ANSase pharmacokinetics and dynamics. This makes it difficult to predict or prevent common side effects, such as allergic reactions or the formation of inhibitory antibodies.

Studies by Laurens van der Meer and Frank van Leeuwen,  in collaboration with pediatric oncologists Maroeska te Loo and Peter Hoogerbrugge, have implicated lysosomal protease Cathepsin B in the clearance of ASNase. The aim of this study is to further establish the role of intracellular proteases in the clearance of this protein drug.

Given the role of lysosomal proteases in antigen presentation, understanding the processes that contribute to the clearance of this drug may also reveal strategies to prevent the formation of anti ASNase antibodies.

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