prof. dr. R. (Rene) Bernards

prof. dr. R. (Rene) Bernards

Full Professor
prof. dr. R. (Rene) Bernards
  • Group Burgering, section Molecular Cancer Research

Research Programs




Rene Bernards has been a staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute since 1992 and was appointed part time professor of molecular carcinogenesis at Utrecht University in 1994. His scientific accomplishments include the development of MammaPrint, the first clinically-used gene expression profile for breast cancer. To bring this discovery to the clinic he co-founded “Agendia”, a genomics-based diagnostic company that started offering the first microarray-based diagnostic test for the clinical management of breast cancer in 2004. His laboratory also developed the first shRNA vector for gene silencing in mammalian cells and used this vector to create the first genome-scale library of shRNA vectors. His laboratory has used this vector collection to identify biomarkers of response to cancer drugs and to identify particularly powerful drug combinations for the treatment of cancer, based on the concept of synthetic lethality. There are currently several clinical trials that test the efficacy of combination therapies suggested by his genetic screens.

Side Activities

  • Founder, Qameleon Therapeutics
  • Staff scientist at Netherlands Cancer Institute, AmsterdamChief Scientific Officer Agendia NV, Amsterdam (part time)Visiting scientist, Genentech Inc. South San Francisco, USA.
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Gilde Healthcare fund.
  • AACR Laboratory Research Awards Selection Committee
  • Member International Scientific Advisory Board, Institut Gustav Roussy, Villejuif, France.
  • Member, Steering group, Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment.
  • 2012, Chair, Evaluation of the Cancer program at Max Delbruck Center, Berlin, Germany
  • Chair, Scientific Advisory board Merus BV, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • 2012, Co-Chair, Program Committee for the 2013 Annual Meeting of the AACR.
  • 2012 - 2013, Chair, Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research Selection Committee.
  • Member Scientific Advisory Board, SiRIC of the Institut Curie, Paris.
  • Co-Chairperson of the 2013-2015 AACR Laboratory Research Awards Committee.
  • Member Scientific Committee Louis Jeantet Foundation.
  • Member AACR Nomination Committee.
  • Member AACR special conferences committee.
  • Member AACR publications committee.
  • BBA reviews on cancer, section editor
  • Molecular Cancer Research, editorial board member
  • Molecular Oncology, editorial board member
  • Cancer Discovery, research watch editor

Fellowship and Awards

1985:                           Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens Fellowship, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

1988:                           Edward Mallinckrodt Foundation award.

1989:                           Searle Scholarship award.

1992:                           Pionier Award, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

2004:                           Josephine Nefkens award, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

2005:                           Pezcoller Foundation-FECS Recognition for Contribution to Oncology.

2005:                           Member, Academia Europea.

2005:                           Spinoza award, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

2005:                           Ernst W. Bertner Award for Cancer Research, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

2007:                           Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

2007:                           ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award in Translational Research in Breast Cancer.

2009                            Fellow, European Academy of Cancer Sciences.

2010                            ERC Advanced grant award.

2011                            Scrip Best Partnership Alliance Award for colorectal cancer collaboration with AstraZeneca and Agendia.

2012                           Queen Wilhelmina Research Prize, Dutch Cancer Society.

2013                           Academy Professor Prize, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Research Output (41)

Phase I study of lapatinib plus trametinib in patients with KRAS-mutant colorectal, non-small cell lung, and pancreatic cancer

Huijberts Sanne C F A, van Geel Robin M J M, van Brummelen Emilie M J, Opdam Frans L, Marchetti Serena, Steeghs Neeltje, Pulleman Saskia, Thijssen Bas, Rosing Hilde, Monkhorst Kim, Huitema Alwin D R, Beijnen Jos H, Bernards René, Schellens Jan H M 1 May 2020, In: Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 85 , p. 917-930 14 p.

Phase 1 study of the pan-HER inhibitor dacomitinib plus the MEK1/2 inhibitor PD-0325901 in patients with KRAS-mutation-positive colorectal, non-small-cell lung and pancreatic cancer

van Geel Robin M J M, van Brummelen Emilie M J, Eskens Ferry A L M, Huijberts Sanne C F A, de Vos Filip Y F L, Lolkema Martijn P J K, Devriese Lot A, Opdam Frans L, Marchetti Serena, Steeghs Neeltje, Monkhorst Kim, Thijssen Bas, Rosing Hilde, Huitema Alwin D R, Beijnen Jos H, Bernards René, Schellens Jan H M 9 Mar 2020, In: British Journal of Cancer. 122 , p. 1166-1174 9 p.

POSEIDON trial phase 1B results:Safety, efficacy and circulating tumor DNA response of the beta isoform-sparing PI3K inhibitor taselisib (GDC-0032) combined with tamoxifen in hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer patients

Baird Richard D., van Rossum Annelot G.J., Oliveira Mafalda, Beelen Karin, Gao Meiling, Schrier Mariette, Mandjes Ingrid A.M., Garcia-Corbacho Javier, Vallier Anne Laure, Dougall Greig, van Werkhoven Erik, Linossi Constanza, Kumar Sanjeev, van Tinteren Harm, Callari Maurizio, Beddowes Emma, Perez-Garcia Jose Manuel, Rosing Hilde, Platte Else, Nederlof Petra, Schot Margaret, de Vries Schultink Aurelia, Bernards Rene, Saura Cristina, Gallagher William, Cortes Javier, Caldas Carlos, Linn Sabine C. 15 Nov 2019, In: Clinical Cancer Research. 25 , p. 6598-6605 8 p.

A System-wide Approach to Monitor Responses to Synergistic BRAF and EGFR Inhibition in Colorectal Cancer Cells

Ressa Anna, Bosdriesz Evert, de Ligt Joep, Mainardi Sara, Maddalo Gianluca, Prahallad Anirudh, Jager Myrthe, de la Fonteijne Lisanne, Fitzpatrick Martin, Groten Stijn, Altelaar A. F. Maarten, Bernards Rene, Cuppen Edwin, Wessels Lodewyk, Heck Albert J. R. Oct 2018, In: Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. 17 , p. 1892-1908 17 p.

The BRCA1ness signature is associated significantly with response to PARP inhibitor treatment versus control in the I-SPY 2 randomized neoadjuvant setting

Severson Tesa M, Wolf Denise M., Yau Christina, Peeters Justine K, Wehkam Diederik, Schouten Philip C, Chin Suet-Feung, Majewski Ian J, Michaut Magali, Bosma Astrid J, Pereira Bernard, Bismeijer Tycho, Wessels Lodewyk F A, Caldas Carlos, Bernards René, Simon Iris M, Glas Annuska M., Linn Sabine, Van't Veer Laura J. 25 Aug 2017, In: Breast Cancer Research. 19

Targeting mutant RAS in patient-derived colorectal cancer organoids by combinatorial drug screening

Verissimo Carla S, Overmeer René M, Ponsioen Bas, Drost Jarno, Mertens Sander, Verlaan-Klink Ingrid, Gerwen Bastiaan van, van der Ven Marieke, van de Wetering Marc , Egan David A, Bernards René, Clevers Hans, Bos Johannes L, Snippert Hugo J 15 Nov 2016, In: eLife. 5

Loss of ARID1A activates ANXA1, which serves as a predictive biomarker for trastuzumab resistance

Berns Katrien, Sonnenblick Amir, Gennissen Annemiek, Brohée Sylvain, Hijmans E. Marielle, Evers Bastiaan, Fumagalli Debora, Desmedt Christine, Loibl Sibylle, Denkert Carsten, Neven Patrick, Guo Wei, Zhang Fan, Knijnenburg Theo A., Bosse Tjalling, Van Der Heijden Michiel S., Hindriksen Sanne, Nijkamp Wouter, Wessels Lodewyk F A, Joensuu Heikki, Mills Gordon B., Beijersbergen Roderick L., Sotiriou Christos, Bernards René 1 Nov 2016, In: Clinical Cancer Research. 22 , p. 5238-5248 11 p.

FGFR1 is a potential prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Koole Koos, Brunen Diede, Van Kempen Pauline M W, Noorlag Rob, De Bree Remco, Lieftink Cor, Van Es Robert J J, Bernards Rene, Willems Stefan M. 1 Aug 2016, In: Clinical Cancer Research. 22 , p. 3884-3893 10 p.

A Vulnerability of a Subset of Colon Cancers with Potential Clinical Utility

Vecchione Loredana, Gambino Valentina, Raaijmakers Jonne, Schlicker Andreas, Fumagalli Arianna, Russo Mariangela, Villanueva Alberto, Beerling Evelyne, Bartolini Alice, Mollevi David G., El-Murr Nizar, Chiron Marielle, Calvet Loreley, Nicolazzi Céline, Combeau Cécile, Henry Christophe, Simon Iris M., Tian Sun, In 'T Veld Sjors, D'Ario Giovanni, Mainardi Sara, Beijersbergen Roderick L., Lieftink Cor, Linn Sabine, Rumpf-Kienzl Cornelia, Delorenzi Mauro, Wessels Lodewyk, Salazar Ramon, Di Nicolantonio Federica, Bardelli Alberto, Van Rheenen Jacco, Medema René H., Tejpar Sabine, Bernards René 7 Apr 2016, In: Cell. 165 , p. 317-330 14 p.

Equivalence of MammaPrint array types in clinical trials and diagnostics

Beumer Inès, Witteveen Anke, Delahaye Leonie, Wehkamp Diederik, Snel Mireille, Dreezen Christa, Zheng John, Floore Arno, Brink Guido, Chan Bob, Linn Sabine, Bernards Rene, van 't Veer Laura, Glas Annuska M. 22 Mar 2016, In: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 156 , p. 279-287 9 p.

All research output

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