The goal of radiation biology research at the University Medical Center Groningen Radiation Oncology Department is to improve radiotherapy with better tumor control and acceptable side-effects for a maximization of post-treatment quality of life.
Radiotherapy is highly effective and plays a key role in 75% of all cancer treatments. The dose that can be delivered to the tumor is, however, limited by the tolerance of the surrounding normal tissues. Therefore, Radiation biology research focuses on the effects of radiation on normal tissues, especially the brain, salivary glands, thyroid gland, lungs and heart. The lab is embedded in the department of Cell Biology at the UMCG to allow interaction with scientists of other fields.
Our research approach
Using the bench-to-bedside approach, we investigate the physiological mechanism of interaction within and between irradiated tissues. Furthermore, the lab is interested in the response of stem cells to radiation and subsequent regeneration of damaged tissues. We developed in vivo and in vitro models on purification and characterization of neuronal, salivary gland, thyroid gland and esophagus stem/progenitor cells. We recently developed a protocol for adult stem cell therapy for radiation-induced hyposalivation and consequential xerostomia, which is now being translated to the clinic. The lab currently investigates the possiblity to use patient derived tissue and tumor derived organoids as a model to enhance post-treatment tissue regeneration, to discover biomarkers and to predict tissue response for personalized medicine.