Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy


The Medical Research Profile “Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy” organizes and coordinates elements of the curricula of the bachelor and master programmes in both Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. In addition, it has an advisory role for graduate students seeking a PhD degree and for MD/PhD track students within the honors programme.

Bachelor Students (3rd year) in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences: Half Minor (12 week elective course/15 credit points)

Half Minor in Cancer Immunotherapy

Student in workgroupsCancer immunotherapy has been named the major breakthrough of the year 2013 by the scientific journal Science, since the promise of tumor-immunology to the field of cancer has recently come of age. Today, antibodies are routinely used in the clinic, and cellular therapy with gene modified T cells has shown ground-breaking effects in cancer treatment. In this half minor, students will learn how cancer cells interact with the immune system and which mechanisms can be used to escape from immunological control. Students will learn the immunological principles and effective mechanisms of anti-cancer immunotherapies which are currently used in the clinic or will be used in the near future, and why certain anti-cancer strategies give rise to serious side-effects. In addition to antigen specific approaches, students will study the contribution of the innate immune system and how this system can be exploited to combat cancer. Finally, the added advantage of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as treatment modality for hematological malignancies will be studied, taking into consideration the risk and severity of complications in this approach. As preparation for a future career as clinician in an academic environment, medical students in this half minor will visit and interview patients in the (outpatient) clinic and file patient histories based on specific clinical cases. Students will also be trained in writing an experimental clinical protocol, which will be presented and translated to the lay public in a patient information form and newspaper article. 

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Half Minor in Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapy

The development of cancer is characterized by several alterations in cellular pathways leading to uncontrolled cellular growth and invasion of the surrounding tissues. Mapping and understanding of the involved pathways can be translated into clinical practice to treat cancer. Students will learn how alterations in various pathways can lead to tumor development. Drugs targeted to these altered pathways may provide individualized treatment for different subtypes of tumors. Students will learn how to translate this knowledge into clinical practice when novel drugs introduced in clinical settings. Laboratory experiments will be done to see the effect of targeted drug treatment on different tumor sample. Next to treatment, early tumor detection, histopathological classification and monitoring of treatment are essential elements that will be covered by a module on imaging of cancer. For translational cancer therapy designing and developing clinical trial protocols to assess efficacy of these novel agent is necessary. Students of this half minor will visit patient at the clinic and exemplary diseases and different clinical trials will be in detail studied with clinical tutors. Finally, students will summary their knowledge by writing a clinical trial proposal on the earlier studied exemplary tumor entities. Translational cancer research is bridging over multiple clinical and basic disciplines and is centrally positioned in the theme of CPT.

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Master Students (Biomedical Sciences)

Research track Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy

This track for master students Biomedical Sciences focuses on the genetic and cellular mechanisms that underlie the development and progression of cancer, and the translation of newly identified targets into cancer patient-tailored treatments.

Masters students in this track will take part in cutting-edge research through junior research projects (JRP) and frontiers of science (FOS) courses that cover the main themes in CPT, including genetics, molecular imaging, immunotherapy and molecular therapeutics. Moreover, CPT track students will be assigned a coach to assist them in choosing research internship projects outside LUMC (including abroad) and career development. For more information and a full list of CPT-related FOS courses, please contact Dr. Roeland Dirks, Department of Molecular Cell Biology ( or Dr. Thorbald van Hall, Department of Medical Oncology (

Internship in Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Internships are offered and assigned through the education coordinators of the individual member Departments of the Medical Research Profile "Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy". The list of CPT education coordinators provides information on the cancer research conducted by each department (in key words), the number of staff researchers working in this area, and the contact details of the coordinator, and is a useful starting point when looking for a department to do an internship on cancer research.

PhD students


PhD positions are offered by individual research groups as they come available throughout the year. Current vacancies are listed on LUMC vacancies and applications. If you would like more information on one of the vacant positions, please contact the respective group leader directly.

PhD student are enrolled in the LUMC Graduate School that organizes mandatory and optional courses on general science skills and specific methods in cancer research. The research profile Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy is represented in the Graduate School by Dr. Hans van Dam

  • Basic and translational Oncology;
  • Next generation Sequencing Data Analysis;
  • Development Stem Cells and Disease;
  • Analysis of microarray and RNA Seq expression data using R/BioC and web tools
  • Translational Imaging Workshop by AMIE: From mouse to man;
  • Genome Maintenance and Cancer;
  • From molecular pathogenesis to targeted treatment;
  • Genetic modifications of model organisms and in vivo imaging;
  • Live Cell and super resolution imaging.

Boerhaave CME offers the following courses:

  • Advanced genetic and Genomic Data analysis,
  • Design, Management & Analysis of Clinical trials.

Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy Seminars

A large variety of regular and special seminars, scientific presentations, and journal clubs is organized within CPT. Please refer to the list of upcoming CPT seminars for further information. If you would like to be put on the mailing list, please send an email to

LUMC Generic Biomedical PhD Courses
Joint UL-LUMC Transferable Skills PhD Courses
Other PhD Courses of potential relevance in our research profile (examples)