Cancer is the number one cause of death in the western world. However, Innovative treatments will become increasingly available as we acquire more knowledge in the fields of immunology, autoimmunology, pharmacology and personalised medicine. The LUMC excels in oncology, both in basic research and in the treatment of different types of cancer.
The LUMC is the national referral center for the diagnosis and treatment of ocular tumors. Such tumors are pigmented tumors of the conjunctiva, iris and choroid, as well as orbital tumors. The LUMC is the only centre in the Netherlands which offers local brachytherapy for intraocular or ocular surface tumors. Clinical research focuses on the improvement of local irradiation, and on the prevention and treatment of radiation-related complications.
Translational research is important for identifying prognostic factors and to obtain a better understanding of the molecular pathways that determine tumor growth and metastasis formation. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is an important mechanism in uveal melanoma. Analysis of enucleated eyes shows that an important prognostic factor is the loss of one chromosome 3, but that this is associated with the presence of an inflammatory phenotype. Research focuses on the immunological environment of the tumor and the relevance of anti-melanoma immune responses. Animal studies are used to determine how a combination of immuno-therapy, anti-angiogenesis therapy, or chemotherapy, can inhibit tumor growth. Hopefully, new targeted therapies will one day be transferred to the clinic.