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News & Updates

New KiKa research grant for the Drost lab
February 2023

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We are happy to announce that our group was awarded another KiKa research grant, which will allow us to continue our work on synovial sarcoma. Children with this tumor have a poor outcome, especially those whose disease comes back after treatment. Michael Meister, physician-scientist and joint applicant on the grant explains: ‘While this tumor is made up of many different cell types, we only see few DNA changes. Using single cell analyses and organoids, we aim to find out where these differences within the tumor come from. By understanding this better, we hope to find leads for a possible new treatment in the future. We are very happy and grateful that we can continue this research thanks to the support of KiKa.’

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Irene Paassen's research is published in Nature Communications
December 2023

Check out Irene's most recent paper titled "SMARCB1 loss activates patient-specific distal oncogenic enhancers in malignant rhabdoid tumors". Her research, in collaboration with Elzo de Wit's team at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, has discovered intertumoral heterogeneity at the epigenomic level, shedding light on how the expression of the MYC oncogene is driven in malignant rhabdoid tumors. This discovery significantly contributes to enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this aggressive childhood cancer.

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Our most recent work is now on BioRxiv
September 2023

Our PhD student Maroussia Ganpat has published her most recent paper on BioRxiv. This study demonstrates that SFPQ-TFE3 expression is sufficient to transform kidney epithelial cells into tRCC and defines the trajectories underlying malignant transformation, thereby facilitating the development of new therapeutic interventions. Read the paper here.


PhD candidate Michael Meister successfully defends his thesis
June 2023

On 7 June, Michael successfully defended his PhD thesis titled “En route to better treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma”. He says: "As a future pediatric oncologist, I want to help children as best I can. For me personally that also includes scientific research as an integral part of my work. I am therefore very happy and proud to receive my PhD title". See here for what else Michael's had to say on the day of the defense.

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New publication by our PhD candidate Irene Paassen
April 2023

Irene's work on establishing and thoroughly characterizing tumoroid models of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRTs) has been published! These tumoroids are the first pediatric brain tumor organoid model, and the differential drug sensitivity that the ATRT subgroups were found to display will hopefully contribute to the development of subgroup-specific treatment regimens. You can read the paper here.

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Our latest manuscript is on BioRxiv
November 2022

Have a look here for our new manuscript describing a role for long-range promoter-enhancer looping of the MYC oncogene in malignant rhabdoid tumors, very aggressive childhood cancers. A great collaboration with the De Wit group from the Netherlands Cancer Institute! This study helps us understand how these tumors arise, which is critical for therapy development in the future.

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PhD candidate Camilla Calandrini has successfully defended her thesis
November 2022

On 24 November Camilla successfully defended her PhD thesis, titled “Applying organoid technology to pediatric cancer research”. Congratulations Dr. Calandrini!

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PhD candidate Maroussia Ganpat wins presenter award
September 2022

Maroussia participated in the “11th International Pediatric Renal Tumour Biology Conference”, where she presented her work on the establishment of a pediatric kidney tumor progression model to study SFPQ-TFE3 translocated Renal Cell Carcinoma. She has received the  award for best oral presentation.

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New publication by Michael T. Meister of our sarcoma team
August 2022

Michael's paper, featured on the cover of October's issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine, describes the first collection of comprehensively characterized tumor organoid (tumoroid) models of pediatric rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) as novel preclinical models for this highly aggressive pediatric cancer entity. You can read the paper here.

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PhD candidate Irene Paassen appointed a travel grant
January 2022

Irene will participate in the conference "Organoids as tools for fundamental discovery and translation", where she will present her work on the establishment of an ATRT organoid model. She has received a Keystone Symposia Future of Science Fund scholarship to cover her travel expenses.

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The Drost website has launched!
January 2022

Our very own website is now online. Visit us for more details on our research, news and many more.


PhD candidate Lars Custers has successfully defended his thesis
October 2021

Warm congratulations to Lars for defending his PhD thesis "From Derailed Development to Childhood Cancer: Using organoid models to study Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors​". 

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NWO Vidi grant for Jarno Drost
July 2021

Jarno has been awarded the prestigious Vidi grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). He will receive €800,000 in research funding, which will be used to investigate the epigenetic landscape of childhood tumors.

"This is not only a very welcome appreciation for the research that we have worked so hard on in the past few years, but it also enables us to further develop it and start new lines of research."

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