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Dr. Martine Lamfers
Dr Lamfers was appointed at Erasmus MC in 2007 to set up the laboratory of the dept of Neurosurgery, which is solely dedicated to the development of novel therapies for glioma patients. She set up a drug development pipeline encompassing systematic biobanking of patient tissue and derived cells, in vitro drug screening, molecular analysis, clinical data acquisition, and in vivo validation for testing of established as well as novel agents. She was also closely involved in the preclinical development of the oncolytic virus Delta24-RGD and its translation to a phase I/II trial. Ongoing research is focused on improving glioma patient outcome by personalized treatment approaches. Other professional activities include: co-founder of Glioscreen® academic drugscreening service, member of the organizing committee of the International Oncolytic Virus meeting, member scientific board of DNAtrix, co-investigator of the EU-ITN GLIOTRAIN. She has an extensive (inter)national network within the field.
Expertise relevant to this project
Dr. Lamfers has been trained in developing clinically-relevant model systems to study disease since her first days as a scientist. For her PhD research she worked on modelling vascular restenosis in vena saphena ex vivo models. As a post-doc she set up patient-derived glioblastoma 2D and 3D culture models as well as intracranial PDX models with the conviction that patient-derived tumor models are essential tools to study CNS malignancies and assess new treatment options. Characterization and optimization of these models and the design of more complex 3D co-culture systems with autologous PBMCs are ongoing projects in the lab. She has almost 20 years of experience in the neuro-oncology field, working on projects ranging from basic science to clinical translation.
Prof. dr. Sieger Leenstra
After he became a neurosurgeon, Sieger worked for 10 years at the Amsterdam Medical centre as a neurosurgeon, after which he worked in Tilburg and Erasmus Medical Centre, where he combined his work as a neurosurgeon, with research into brain tumors. In 2009 Sieger became Professor in experimental neurosurgical oncology.
Prof. dr. Clemens Dirven
Prof. dr. Clemens Dirven studied medicine at Radboud University Nijmegen and was trained for neurosurgeon at University Hospital Groningen. Here he also defended his thesis on pilocytic astrocytoma, a pediatric brain tumor. He was member of the neurosurgical staff at VUmc, Amsterdam for 11 years during which he founded the brain tumor research program and was appointed professor in experimental surgical neuro-oncology. From 2007 he is chairman at the dept. of neurosurgery at Erasmus MC, in 2013 he co-founded the first national brain tumor center at Erasmus MC, and has been member of several national and international neuro-oncology boards and committees (Landelijke Werkgroep Neuro-Oncology, European Association of Neuro-Oncology, the brain tumor committee of the European Association of Neurological Surgeons).
My research interest lies in translational surgical neuro-oncology with a focus on novel therapies, local delivery, and phase I clinical trials. I have been PI of several phase I clinical trials in GBM among which an investigator initiated clinical trial testing a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus at Erasmus MC, in which I also had a leading role in the trial design (manuscript submitted). At this moment several clinical trials are ongoing in our department that I (co-)initiated, mostly among brain tumor patients. Other projects involve the establishment of a large brain tumor biobank and the first Dutch “damaged human brain” biobank, leading to several translational research projects using human brain explants as model system. Another part of my research focuses on novel methods to increase effectiveness and safety of brain tumor surgery.
Expertise relevant to this project
The use and development of in vitro, ex vivo and animal model systems to search for novel therapies in brain tumor treatment has always been connected to my clinical work. For this I have spent a large effort in standardization of handling, sampling and storage of patient’s brain tumor samples, resulting in a very large biobank, containing all relevant other patient’s characteristics and DNA. I have been involved in the design and performance of several industry driven clinical multicenter trials in which new compounds are locally delivered to the brain tumor and the surrounding brain by means of “convection enhanced delivery”, a rarely used technique that I adapted and implemented as first neurosurgeon in the Netherlands. This has given our department the status of expertise center for the design and performance of clinical trials, with several (pharmaceutical) companies seeking our support.