Prof. dr. Jacco van Rheenen received a grant of 2 million euro from the European Research Council (ERC). The professor in Intravital Microscopy of the UMC Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute received this ‘Consolidator Grant’ to further strengthen his research into the spreading of tumor cells in the next 5 years.

The aim of his proposal is to gain fundamental insights on how induction of tumor cell death, the universal aim of therapy, could play a role in growth and spread of surviving tumor cells. Current anti-cancer treatments are often inefficient, while many patients initially benefit from anti-cancer drugs eventually experience relapse of resistant tumors throughout the body. Current clinical strategies mainly aim at inducing tumor cell death, but this induction may have serious unintentional and unwanted side effects on surviving tumor cells. The aim of Van Rheenen is to identify the key cell types and mechanisms that mediate this effect, and establish whether interference with these cells and mechanisms can reduce recurrence of tumors after chemotherapy.