Pediatric Tumor Immunology and HCT: Group Nierkens

Pediatric Immunology and HCT


Group Nierkens studies the functional dynamics of the immune system in pediatric cancer patients, in particular in children treated with immune therapy and/or hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). The group developed a comprehensive immune monitoring program and performs PK-PD analyses (chemo-, serotherapy and steroids) to make cell transplantation as safe and efficient as possible. Using cord blood as a cell therapy platform, Nierkens and his group generated an efficient protocol for TCR-transduction of cord blood cells for anti-tumor T-cell therapy. Their cord blood-derived dendritic cell vaccine has recently been approved for a phase-I/II in children with AML (U-DANCE trial).

Research programme

Infection and Immunity

Research interests

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT)

Immune Therapy

Immune Monitoring

Dendritic cell vaccination

T- cell therapy



Stefan Nierkens

Medical Immunologist

Associate Professor Pediatric Tumorimmunology and HCT 

Head Central Immune Monitoring Platform

Phone +31 (0)6 33048039 


Center for Translational Immunology

University Medical Center Utrecht

Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht. Room F03.818

Related website

Group members

Group leader


Niek van Til

Maud Plantinga

Coco de Koning


Denise van den Beemt

Ester Dunnebach

PhD students

Annelisa Cornel, PhD student

Vania LoPresti , PhD student

Celina Szanto, PhD student

Brigitte van den Broek, MD, PhD student

Shanice Beerepoot, MD, PhD student

Julia Mohlman, PhD student

Linde Dekker, PhD student

Join the group

Students interested in an internship from 6-9 months can contact  

Key publications

  1. Cord-Blood-Stem-Cell-Derived Conventional Dendritic Cells Specifically Originate from CD115-Expressing Precursors. Plantinga M, de Haar CG, Dünnebach E, van den Beemt DAMH, Bloemenkamp KWM, Mokry M, Boelens JJ, Nierkens S. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Feb 5;11(2). pii: E181. doi: 10.3390/cancers1102018 View
  2. Spel L, Nieuwenhuis J, Haarsma R, Stickel E, Bleijerveld OB, Altelaar M, Boelens JJ, Brummelkamp TR, Nierkens S*, Boes M*. *shared. Nedd4 Binding Protein 1 (N4BP1) and TNFAIP3 Interacting Protein 1 (TNIP1) control MHC-1 display in neuroblastoma. Cancer Res. 2018 Sep 13. pii: canres.0545.2018. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0545. View
  3. de Koning C, Gabelich JA, Langenhorst J, Admiraal R, Kuball J, Boelens JJ, Nierkens S. Filgrastim enhances T-cell clearance by antithymocyte globulin exposure after unrelated cord blood transplantation. Blood Adv. 2018 Mar 13;2(5):565-574. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017015487. View
  4. Admiraal R, de Koning C, Lindemans CA, Bierings MB, Wensing AMJ, Versluys AB, Wolfs TFW, Nierkens S*, Boelens JJ*. *shared. Viral Reactivations and Associated Outcomes in Context of Immune Reconstitution after Paediatric Hematopoietic CellTransplantation: a Retrospective Cohort study of Consecutive Patients. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Apr 7. pii: S0091-6749(17)30571-7. View
  5. Admiraal R, Nierkens S, de Witte M, Petersen E, Fleurke G, Verrest L, Raymakers R, Knibbe C, Minnema M, van Kesteren C, Kuball,J, Boelens JJ. Association between anti-thymocyte globulin exposure and survival outcomes in adult unrelated haemopoietic cell transplantation: a retrospective, pharmacodynamic cohort analysis. Lancet Haematol. 2017 Apr;4(4):e183-e191. View



The Netherlands

Caroline Lindemans, MD/PhD, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, HCT unit, Utrecht

Alwin Huitema, Prof, Pharmacy, UMCU / NKI, Utrecht/Amsterdam

Femke van Wijk, PhD, CTI, UMCU, Utrecht

Linde Meyaard, Prof, CTI, UMCU, Utrecht

Jolanda de Vries, Prof. Radboud UMC, Nijmegen

Jurgen Kuball, MD/PhD, UMCU Hematology, Utrecht

Jan Molenaar, PhD, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht

Dannis van Vuurden, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht

Michel Zwaan, Prof, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht

Ruben van Boxtel, PhD.  Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht


John Anderson, Prof. UCL, UK

Paul Veys, Prof. GOSH, UK


Jaap Jan Boelens, MSKCC, NY, USA

EuroFlow consortium

Clinical trials

Dutch Ethical Committee approval Phase I/II study on Dendritic cell vaccines in AML

PARACHUTE trial on individualized dosing of ATG

Research implementation in patient care

Implementation of ATG dosing nomogram to achieve optimal exposure in the patient

Implementation of ATG therapeutic drug monitoring in high-risk HCT children

In the media

2016 Dec 13: RTL live interview - anti kanker vaccin voor kinderen met acu

2016 Jan 14: "De kennis van nu" - ATC in autologous HCT

2014: Koningin Máxima op bezoek bij Villa Joep - Panel discussion in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam for Queen Máxima of the Netherlands


2019 Apr 2: Stamceltransplantatie vergt behandeling op maat