The Netherlands

Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut – Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis (NKI)

The Netherlands Cancer Institute is the only comprehensive cancer center (CCC ) in the Netherlands renowned for its cancer research and highly specialised and high volume oncological care. The institute is part of the network of European CCCs, Cancer Core Europe, and is an OECI-accredited institute. The institutional focus of research is in personalised medicine, fundamental research, immunotherapy, cancer survivorship and image-guided treatment. The Department of Radiology, together with the Departments of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy, carries out imaging and interventional research in oncology care. The highly specialised staff is involved in multidisciplinary research projects in an institute where cross-department collaboration is encouraged. The department has strong collaboration with interventional units of radiotherapy and surgery for developing imaging techniques for diagnostic image-driven intervention, personalised treatments and artificial intelligence.

Department of Radiotherapy

The Department of Radiation Oncology aims to combine high quality care with cutting edge research. Synergy is found between these ambitions by a strong focus on translational research and innovation. The department received the European School of Oncology E. van der Schueren Award in 2014 for its achievements in translational research within the field of radiotherapy. The department treats about 5000 patients per year. It has nine linear accelerators in use, eight equipped with CBCT and one MR-LINAC system. Additionally, a Gamma Knife Icon linear accelerator is fully available for research and innovation purposes.

Role in project

Within WP4, NKI leads Task 4.2 The digital revolution in medical application of ionising radiation and corresponding radiation protection research – data structures, electronic patient records and aspects related to artificial intelligence and contributes to Task 4.1 Infrastructures for research on medical applications of ionising radiation and corresponding radiation protection. The hospital treats a high volume of cancer patients from a multidisciplinary point of view and all expertise. The Department of Radiology and Radiotherapy have expertise and knowledge in medical image analysis techniques such as the localisation, segmentation and classification of lesions. The deep learning methods we use are agnostic to the imaging modality and can therefore be applied to other modalities and/or organs.

Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam (EMC)

Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam is the largest university hospital in the Netherlands, right in the centre of Rotterdam. Erasmus MC is committed to a healthy population and excellence in healthcare through research and education. Research at Erasmus MC is at the heart of society resulting in innovation, quality improvement and more effectiveness in patient care. Erasmus MC is in the top ten of the best medical institutes in Europe (QS World University Ranking 2014).

Everyday, more than 14,000 dedicated employees are contributing to our results in cure, care, research and education. The overall research aim of Erasmus MC is to translate bench discoveries to bedside applications. Its annual research budget amounts to €140 million. It participated in 165 FP7 projects of the European Commission, and it hosts 20 ERC grantees. Innovative companies are set up based on our scientific results, and existing companies start new developments based on our discoveries.

The Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine is one of the largest, most advanced centres for medical imaging in Europe. The department has numerous state-of-the-art imaging modalities, such as CT, MRI, PET/CT, SPECT/CT and soon even a PET/MRI camera. Daily 500 to 800 patients are diagnosed with one of these modalities. Radionuclide therapy is performed with 131I NaI for treatment of thyroid disease, 90Y microspheres for liver cancer treatment, and 177Lu-DOTA-octreotate peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) for treatment of neuroendocrine cancer.

The radiochemistry and preclinical SPECTRIM research group has developed and tested various new radiopharmaceuticals from bench to bedside. Unique experience has been gained over the past decades in both diagnostic imaging  with SPECT and PET as well as PRRT, which targets metastasized cancer with radioactively labelled peptides. Invented in Rotterdam, theranostics is the combination of diagnosis and therapy with the same targeting molecule. 177Lu-DOTA-octreotate was developed at Erasmus MC and now forms the first-line therapy of metastatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Dosimetry, DNA damage repair and radionuclide therapy form the heart of the science performed at our department. We have been scheduling therapy experiments in a preclinical setting according to absorbed dose estimates based on biodistribution and quantitative imaging. This has already shown the benefit of dosimetry-tailored treatments, albeit on an empirical basis. Cellular response to radiation exposure with various radiolabelled targeting vectors has been studied extensively in our group. Inhibition of the possibility for DNA damage repair has been shown to enhance the radiation effects by targeted β-emitter radionuclide therapy considerably. Erasmus MC is the leading centre in the development and treatment of neuroendocrine tumours with targeted radionuclide therapy, using 177Lu DOTA-octreotate.

Role in project

EMC is responsible overall for the development of the WP5 work plan, for coordinating meetings and communication within the work package and with coordinators and administrators. It is also responsible for ensuring scientifically sound, accurate and timely completion of milestones and deliverables. The tasks to be coordinated are:

  1. Organize a workshop to be held at the beginning (M5) of the project to collect stakeholder input and feedback.
  2. The translational challenge for medical radiation application and protection research
  3. Generating a framework for clinical and industrial transfer of innovation
  4. How to facilitate innovation by industry and sustainability for the production

EMC also takes part in WP2 (Task 2.2 – Identification and prioritisation of EURADOS SRA topics relevant to medical radiation protection research), and in WP3 by participating in Task 3.1 Radiation application in oncological diseases: needs and opportunities , Task 3.4 Identifying radiation application and radiation protection needs, Taks 3.5 Addressing common interests and identifying synergie, and Task 3.6 The patient perspective on radiation-based health care and the RP research: needs and opportunities. Within WP4, EMC is involved in Task 4.1 Infrastructures for research on medical applications of ionising radiation and corresponding radiation protection. Within WP6, EMC contributes to Task 6.1 The Strategic Research Agenda and Task 6.2 The roadmap.

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