Dr Anika Nagelkerke (University of Groningen / GRIP - Pharmaceutical Analysis)
Dr Anika Nagelkerke is an assistant professor of cell biology, biochemistry & molecular biology and oncology. Her research project is entitled ‘A novel liquid biopsy assay to select cancer patients for hypoxia-modifying treatment’, and aims to improve existing methods.
Many solid tumours have an oxygen deficiency (hypoxia), making their progression more aggressive. Although being able to determine the degree of hypoxia before starting treatment could be enormously beneficial, the current methods for doing this are not ideal. The aim of this project is therefore to explore alternative, clinically viable methods.
The project itself involves studying whether the extracellular vesicles (EVs) excreted by cells could serve as an indicator for the degree of hypoxia in the tumour. These vesicles are excreted by all body cells, including tumour cells. It would appear that the vesicles reflect the cells from which they originate, making them a frontrunner in terms of new biomarkers for cancer. Nagelkerke hopes that her research project will contribute to the KWF mission to stimulate better treatment methods for cancer. Developing a method that can be used to measure tumour hypoxia before, and during, treatment could enable doctors to choose the most suitable treatment option, thereby improving the effectiveness of the treatments currently being used.
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