The focus of my research group lies with the development of new tools for the molecular imaging and treatment of patients with cancer. We use synthetic molecules, but also biological compounds, that are labelled with radioactive isotopes to specifically target the sites in the body where tumours are located. Some of these isotopes can be detected using diagnostic imaging devices (e.g. PET), whereas other isotopes are more suited for the delivery of therapeutic doses of radioactivity that kill the tumour cells.
Our first research line aims at developing minimally invasive, nuclear treatment strategies for patients that suffer from brain cancer. We are using natural peptides and bispecific antibodies that are capable to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and then specifically bind to tumour tissue.
In our second research line, we are developing new (radio)chemistry to improve current pretargeting strategies. The pretargeting strategy attempts to decrease radioactive doses to healthy tissues by injecting the targeting vector (e.g. an antibody) and radioactive ligand separately, which then ligate within the target tissue. By optimising the chemical and physiological properties of both, the radioactive doses to healthy tissues can significantly be reduced.
In our third research line, we use imaging isotopes to track immune cells in the human body during immune cell therapy.