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Josef Vormoor appointed as Professor of Hematological Malignancies in Children

Josef Vormoor appointed as Professor of Hematological Malignancies in Children

The clinical director for hemato-oncology at the Prinses Máxima Centrum, Josef Vormoor, has been appointed professor of hematological malignancies in children at the Faculty of Medicine of Utrecht University. This appointment will give a new impulse for the collaboration between the paediatric and adult hemato-oncology with a focus on innovative trials across the age barrier and the optimisation of care for adolescents and young adults (AYA). 

Young children and elderly patients with cancer often face similar challenges with standard chemotherapy: toxicity. Clearly, not only young and old, but all patients need more effective therapies with less toxicity. How can we work together? What can we learn from each other to accelerate the development of novel therapies? Vormoor sees his appointment as an important strategic move to further strengthen the collaboration between pediatric and adult hemato-oncology.

Developing a multidisciplinary center of excellence for acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Building on the translational research expertise on acute lymphoblastic leukemia and cellular immunotherapies and combining the clinical experience at our two organisations we can establish an internationally recognized center of excellence in Utrecht for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia for patients of all ages. Our challenge will be to develop novel therapies combining small molecule-based targeted therapies with immunotherapy (antibodies and cellular immunotherapies, such as CAR T cells) with the ultimate vision of a chemotherapy-free therapy. Vormoor’s research on how to target the interaction of the leukemic cells with the microenvironment will contribute towards this goal.

Our common vision is to develop innovative trials across the age barrier, to cure every patient with cancer, with optimal quality of life.

“As director of the cancer institute of Newcastle University in the UK, I have come to appreciate how adult and paediatric physicians can work together and learn from each other. We come from different angles but we face similar challenges. Together, we can come up with creative solutions to improve therapy for our patients.”

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA)

Adolescents and young adults face very similar challenges:

Cancer does not suddenly change at age 18 from a pediatric to an adult disease, however, we often treat adolescents and young adults very differently. Outcome of cancer treatment in AYA has lacked behind the rapid progress in younger children and AYA are often underrepresented in clinical trials.

Adolescents and young adults receiving anti-cancer treatment also have very specific needs and ask the same questions: what is the impact of cancer and therapy on my sexuality, my relationships? How will it affect my education and professional development? How can I maintain my independence?

There is a great chance that, together with our patients, we can develop an integrative vision on AYA care in Utrecht.

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