The genetic make-up of cancer patients affects the short-term and long-term effects of cancer treatment. To improve patient selection and future treatment outcomes, we need to understand the molecular, cellular and tissue mechanisms that determine DNA damage and repair in both normal and cancerous cells.

Our DARE research programme studies the role of genetic and chromosomal damage in tumorigenesis and ageing, treatment responses to genotoxic anti-cancer treatments, and the long-term effects of anti-cancer treatment.

We coordinate basic, translational research as well as clinical studies in the field of cancer-related and cancer treatment-related cellular damage in tumors and healthy tissue. We focus on

  • the role of chromosomal and genetic defects in tumorigenesis and aging,
  • responses of normal and cancer cells to genotoxic agents,
  • short and long-term effects of anti-cancer therapeutics.
Relevance

Our research activities benefit our patients

By studying gene mutations and mechanisms of DNA damage repair, we get insight into the short-term and long-term adverse side effects of cancer treatment. These findings help us improve prognostic models and patient selection. Ultimately, we aim to better personalized treatments, increased survival rates and improved quality of life of cancer patients.

Based on our research, we identified and validated predictive and prognostic markers in several tumor types, including head-and-neck tumors, and in normal tissues. Based on these results, we improved our prediction and patient selection models, and were able to study the repair of late-stage adverse effects of cancer therapies.

  • Proton therapy is an innovative form of radiation therapy in which healthy tissue in the vicinity of tumors receives a lower radiation and remains more intact. At the UMCG, we conduct research on this technique and since 2018  we offer treatment to patients. By using this technique and evaluating results, we hope to reduce unintended adverse side effects in normal tissue and improve quality of life.

    We are part of an existensive international collaboration to further develop and automate treatment methods. Within this project, we and our European partners will set up a training network for a new generation of proton therapy researchers.

  • We can learn a lot from our patients. That is why we ask them to join OncoLifeS. OncoLifeS is a UMCG biobank, in which data, bodily materials and quality of life assessments of cancer patients are stored, which are used for UMCG cancer research. Until October 2020, already over 5200 patients volunteered to join OncoLifeS.

    By linking routine clinical data with preserved biological specimens and quality of life assessments, our OncoLifeS researchers help develop better treatments for our cancer patients aiming at a better quality of life after cancer.

    Patient information (Dutch)