Joachim Aerts graduated as MD in 1997 from Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Subsequently, he performed his medical specialty training in Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis with focus on thoracic oncology, which he completed in 2002.
He has combined working as a pulmonologist in a teaching hospital, first Sint Franciscus Gasthuis Rotterdam later Amphia Hospital Breda and an academic hospital, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam (Erasmus MC). In 2014, Prof Aerts was appointed as professor in Pulmonary Oncology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In May 2017 he was appointed full time at Erasmus MC, where he became head of the department of Pulmonary Medicine in January 2018. Prof. Aerts is co-author of >300 articles in international peer reviewed scientific journals.
His main research focus is on fundamental, translational and clinical research in immuno oncology, with a strong focus on lung cancer and mesothelioma. Within his research laboratory a novel form of immunotherapy for patients with mesothelioma has been developed. After a decade of laboratory research, this approach was proven tolerable and safe in a phase I trial, for which the team received a so called ‘Parel’ award in March 2018, a recognition for excellent and exceptional research by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). In 2019 he received a development award from the Dutch government for this achievement. Currently, this approach is studied in an international multicentre phase II/III randomised controlled trial. This project is funded by the European Unions’ Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.In collaboration with the department of Surgery of Erasmus MC, this form of immunotherapy is now also investigated for other forms of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer and abdominal mesothelioma.
As PI and as co-investigator, Prof. Aerts is involved in many basic, translational and clinical studies in lung cancer. His research focusses on the role of the immune system in lung cancer development, personalized treatment options and response mechanisms. Multiple projects are being funded by funding agencies such as the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) and ZonMw, and pharmaceutical companies. One of the most recent breakthroughs describes a role for the tumor draining lymphe node in the activation and suppression of tumor directed immune activation.
Prof. Aerts is board of directors member of the IASLC and leader of the core network on mesothelioma and board member of the European Reference Network on Rare Respiratory Diseases (ERN-Lung). He is a frequent invited speaker on international conferences, and he is scientific committee member of multiple national and international societies, such as the NVALT, EORTC, ASCO, ESMO, IASLC, ETOP, AACR, ERS, CIMT and ATS.
Field(s) of expertise
- Thoracic Oncology
- Translational immune oncology
Education and career
- 1992 MSc degree, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- 1995 Ph.D. degree, department of Pulmonary Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands title: controlled expiration during mechanical ventilation in patients with COPD. Promotors Prof. C. Hilvering, Prof. J. Bogaard
- 1996 M.D. degree, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- 2001 Pulmonary physician, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
- 2010 Associate professor, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam,the Netherlands
- 2015 Professor of Pulmonary Oncology, department of Pulmonary Medicine, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
- 2018 Head of department of Pulmonary Medicine, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
280 publications and 24 book chapters (May 2023). 25000 citations (Google Scholar 20 May 2023, excluding self-citations) resulting in an H index= of 61; 3 patents granted.
Listed are the most relevant publications.
- The PD-1/PD-L1-Checkpoint Restrains T cell Immunity in Tumor-Draining Lymph Nodes. Dammeijer F, van Gulijk M, Mulder EE, Lukkes M, Klaase L, van den Bosch T, van Nimwegen M, Lau SP, Latupeirissa K, Schetters S, van Kooyk Y, Boon L, Moyaart A, Mueller YM, Katsikis PD, Eggermont AM, Vroman H, Stadhouders R, Hendriks RW, Thüsen JV, Grünhagen DJ, Verhoef C, van Hall T, Aerts JG. Cancer Cell. 2020 Nov 9;38(5):685-700
- Immune suppression in the tumor-draining lymph node corresponds with distant disease recurrence in patients with melanoma. van Krimpen A, Gerretsen VIV, Mulder EEAP, van Gulijk M, van den Bosch TPP, von der Thüsen J, Grünhagen DJ, Verhoef C, Mustafa D, Aerts JG, Stadhouders R, Dammeijer F. Cancer Cell. 2022 Aug 8;40(8):798-799.
- PD-L1 checkpoint blockade promotes regulatory T cell activity that underlies therapy resistance. van Gulijk M, van Krimpen A, Schetters S, Eterman M, van Elsas M, Mankor J, Klaase L, de Bruijn M, van Nimwegen M, van Tienhoven T, van Ijcken W, Boon L, van der Schoot J, Verdoes M, Scheeren F, van der Burg SH, Lambrecht BN, Stadhouders R, Dammeijer F, Aerts J, van Hall T. Sci Immunol. 2023 May 19;8(83):eabn6173. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abn6173. Epub 2023 May 19.
- Autologous Dendritic Cells Pulsed with Allogeneic Tumor Cell Lysate in Mesothelioma: From Mouse to Human. Aerts JGJV, de Goeje PL, Cornelissen R, Kaijen-Lambers MEH, Bezemer K, van der Leest CH, Mahaweni NM, Kunert A, Eskens FALM, Waasdorp C, Braakman E, van der Holt B, Vulto AG, Hendriks RW, Hegmans JPJJ, Hoogsteden HC. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 15;24(4):766-776.
- A multicenter, randomized, phase II/III study of dendritic cells loaded with allogeneic tumor cell lysate (MesoPher) in subjects with mesothelioma as maintenance therapy after chemotherapy: DENdritic cell Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma (DENIM) trial. Belderbos RA, Baas P, Berardi R, Cornelissen R, Fennell DA, van Meerbeeck JP, Scherpereel A, Vroman H, Aerts JGJV. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2019 Jun;8(3):280-285
- Autologous dendritic cells pulsed with allogeneic tumour cell lysate induce tumour-reactive T-cell responses in patients with pancreatic cancer: A phase I study. Lau SP, Klaase L, Vink M, Dumas J, Bezemer K, van Krimpen A, van der Breggen R, Wismans LV, Doukas M, de Koning W, Stubbs AP, Mustafa DAM, Vroman H, Stadhouders R, Nunes JB, Stingl C, de Miranda NFCC, Luider TM, van der Burg SH, Aerts JG, van Eijck CHJ. Eur J Cancer. 2022 Jul;169:20-31.
- Safety of Extended interval Dosing Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: a multicentre cohort study. Cantini L, Paoloni F, Pecci F, Spagnolo F, Genova C, Tanda ET, Aerts S, Rebuzzi SE, Fornarini G, Zoratto F, Fancelli S, Lupi A, Della Corte CM, Parisi A, Bennati C, Ortega C, Atzori F, Piovano PL, Orciuolo C, De Tursi M, Ghidini M, Botticelli A, Scagnoli S, Belluomini L, Leporati R, Veccia A, Di Giacomo AM, Festino L, Cortinovis D, Acquati M, Filetti M, Giusti R, Tucci M, Sergi MC, Garutti M, Puglisi F, Manglaviti S, Citarella F, Santoni M, Rijavec E, Lo Russo G, Santini D, Addeo A, Antonuzzo L, Indini A, Rocchi MBL, Cortellini A, Grossi F, Ascierto PA, Aerts JGJV, Berardi R.J. Natl Cancer Inst. 2023 Apr 12:djad061. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djad061. Online ahead of print.
- Novel insights into mesothelioma biology and implications for therapy. Yap TA, Aerts JG, Popat S, Fennell DA. Nat Rev Cancer. 2017 Jul 25;17(8):475-488
- Lecturer and coordinator of the thoracic oncology course (2 weeks yearly) in the Bsc of the Erasmus Medicine training, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- Lecturer on pulmonary medicine in the Bsc/MD program of the Erasmus Medicine training, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- Teacher at post graduate training of pulmonary physicians in different educational activities.
- Lecturer on several (inter)national meetings of scientific and medical societies.
2001 – 2010 Research consultant, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
2002 – present EORTC lung cancer research group.
2010 – present Mesothelioma panel member.
2012 – present Chair of the (pre)clinical research group of Immuno-Oncology
2018 – present Mesothelioma Task force member International Association for the
Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
2019 – present Education Committee, International Association for the Study of Lung
Cancer (IASLC). Chair of the committee 2019-2021.
2021 – present Chair of the steering committee of the Lung Cancer Coalition for the early detection of lung cancer (WHO).
2021 – present Member of the board of directors, International Association for
the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
2021 – present Chair of the thorax centre of Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
2021 – present Member of the executive medical staff of the Erasmus MC ,
Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Funding & grants
- Dutch government - Orphan drug designation for dendritic cell therapy in mesothelioma
- Astra-Zeneca - Artificial intelligence in early detection of lung cancer. A European project
- Private Donation - Combination immunotherapy in cancer
- Dutch government – TEIPP vaccination in NSCLC
- Dutch government - Allogeneous tumour cell lysate in mesothelioma
- EU Horizon2020 - Dendritic cell immunotherapy in mesothelioma: the DENIM study
- Charity fund - Dendritic cell therapy in resectable pancreatic cancer
- Private donation - Dendritic cell therapy in combination with CD 40 agonist in advanced stage pancreatic cancer: phase I study
- Private donation - Improving immunotherapy in cancer with vaccination
- Charity fund - Novel treatments for mesothelioma