We received two grant from the Dutch Cancer Society to study:
Lithium for the prevention of polyps Louis Vermeulen, together with co-applicants Sanne van Neerven and Evelien Dekker, will investigate whether it is possible to prevent polyp formation in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Preliminary research showed that lithium effectively disrupts polyp formation. Lithium is a cheap drug that is often prescribed for patients with schizophrenia. In an exploratory study, Vermeulen will examine whether lithium is effective in preventing polyps in a small group of FAP patients.
Treatment of metastases to the peritoneum In a project led by Maarten Bijlsma, the Vermeulen lab is researching treatment options for peritoneal metastases. The team, together with the lab of Onno Kranenburg (UMC Utrecht) examines the molecular properties of these tumors to identify (combinations of) drugs that are effective against them. If successful in the laboratory, the tailored treatment will be tested in future clinical trials.
Louis Vermeulen, Professor of Molecular Oncology at Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, is one of eight laureates of the Ammodo Science Awards for 2021. The Ammodo Science Award is awarded to excellent, internationally recognized scientists working in the Netherlands who obtained their PhD no more than fifteen years ago.
Vermeulen won the award in the Biomedical Sciences category. This award was created by Ammodo, a foundation for art and science that aims to renew the foundations of our society by providing financial support for groundbreaking fundamental scientific research. Ammodo awards the prize in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Professor Vermeulen will receive a cash prize of 300,000 euro to explore new avenues in fundamental research into colon cancer.
Photo: Dirk Gillissen
Louis Vermeulen, Md, PhD, is studying how mutations in the genetic material of stem cells can lead to colon cancer. Together with his highly multidisciplinary research team, the origin and dynamics of colorectal cancer are studied with innovative approaches combining biochemistry and genetics with mathematical and physical models. Through tracking the “behavior” of stem cells, Dr. Vermeulen has made major contributions to fundamental concepts within molecular oncology.
Among other oncology research interests, Dr. Vermeulen wants to focus on Lynch syndrome in the future. This is a hereditary condition that increases the risk of colon and uterine cancer due to flaws in our DNA spell checker system. About 5 percent of people with colon cancer have this syndrome. He previously received an ERC Starting Grant (a personal grant from the European Union) and a Vidi grant from the Dutch Association for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2017, he received a $ 1.5 million Investigator Award from the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Louis Vermeulen leads a research group at the Oncode Institute, an independent research institute that is committed to translating fundamental insights about cancer as efficiently as possible into better and more affordable care for the patient.
The announcement of the Ammodo award for Louis Vermeulen’s groundbreaking research into the origins of colon cancer research coincides with the national Colon Cancer month initiative. Leading scientists at Cancer Center Amsterdam are organizing the 500 kilometers Darm-2-Darm bicycle ride to raise colorectal cancer awareness and funding for research.
We had a great outing this year. On the program we had lama feeding, golfing and BBQing. So much fun to see all colleagues in person again after many months of working at home and video meetings due to covid-19.
The Vermeulen lab and collaborators created a murine model to study peritoneal metastases, a common and poor prognosis disease. The established murine model recapitulates heterogeneity as observed in human peritoneal metastases, which makes it a suitable platform for future (intervention) studies. A paper on this model is published in the scientific journal ‘Laboratory Investigation’ and can be accessed here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32504005/
The newest publication of the Vermeulen lab is featured on the cover of Nature Protocols. The paper details methodology for clonal tracing in established colon cancer tissue using marker-independent fluorescent labelling. See: https://www.nature.com/nprot/volumes/14/issues/9 for more details.