Dendritic cell therapy at VUB’s University Hospital UZ Brussel

5 years ago, she was at death’s door. Now she is perfectly healthy and has just become a mum. Valérie beat skin cancer thanks to a new form of immunotherapy developed at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s University Hospital (UZ Brussel) in Brussels. “Without this therapy, Valérie would be dead now,” says her oncologist Dr. Bart Neyns.

Photo: VRT News






The new treatment is called dendritic cell therapy. The research is a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s faculty of medicine and the LMCT Laboratory, led by Professor Kris Thielemans. Bart Neyns, oncologist at the VUB’s UZ Brussels, explains the treatment. “Our immune system has different types of cells,” he says. “Some cells work as soldiers who attack the bad cells. The dendritic cells tell those soldiers cells which cells they should attack. In the therapy, also called immunotherapy, the dendritic cells are removed from the patient’s body and adapted in a laboratory so they get the soldier cells to specifically target the cancer. In other words, the patient’s own immune system is used to destroy the cancer.

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