Jump to top menu Jump to main menu Jump to content
Research group/lab

Pulmonary Oncology

About our research group/lab

Our research

Why was this group formed?
The main research focus is on malignant disease with a special interest in immune-oncology both basic, translational and clinical. Optimisation of checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy in patients with malignant pulmonary diseases is another focus topic of the group.

What is the overall aim?
We aim to further optimize the in-house developed dendritic cell based immunotherapy for malignant mesothelioma that has evolved from bench to bedside, and to study it for malignancies other than mesothelioma, which are not limited to pulmonary malignancies. The group is working on biomarkers that could predict the response to treatment beforehand. This will lead to methods that can be exploited in clinical setting in order to decide which patients will benefit from specific treatments, thereby facilitating personalized treatment and preventing overtreatment and unnecessary side effects.

What type of research do you focus on in this group?
Our research covers the entire spectrum from bench to bedside; in our laboratory, pre-clinical research and translational research are performed, and our clinical research is supported by the departmental research bureau. In the clean room facilities, our in house developed ATMP is produced for multiple studies.

Key Publications

  1. Yap TA, Aerts JG, Popat S, Fennell DA. Novel insights into mesothelioma biology and implications for therapy. Nat Rev Cancer. 2017 Jul 25;17(8):475-488. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2017.42.
  2. Extended Tumor Control after Dendritic Cell Vaccination with Low-Dose Cyclophosphamide as Adjuvant Treatment in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Cornelissen R, Hegmans JP, Maat AP, Kaijen-Lambers ME, Bezemer K, Hendriks RW, Hoogsteden HC, Aerts JG. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016 May 1;193(9):1023-31
  3. Fennell DA, Baas P, Taylor P, Nowak AK, Gilligan D, Nakano T, Pachter JA, Weaver DT, Scherpereel A, Pavlakis N, van Meerbeeck JP, Cedrés S, Nolan L, Kindler H, Aerts JGJV. Maintenance Defactinib Versus Placebo After First-Line Chemotherapy in Patients With Merlin-Stratified Pleural Mesothelioma: COMMAND-A Double-Blind, Randomized, Phase II Study. J Clin Oncol. 2019.
  4. Brahmer J, Reckamp KL, Baas P, Crinò L, Eberhardt WE, Poddubskaya E, Antonia S, Pluzanski A, Vokes EE, Holgado E, Waterhouse D, Ready N, Gainor J, Arén Frontera O, Havel L, Steins M, Garassino MC, Aerts JG, Domine M, Paz-Ares L, Reck M, Baudelet C, Harbison CT, Lestini B, Spigel DRNivolumab versus Docetaxel in Advanced Squamous-Cell Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Randomized controlled trial, N Engl J Med. 2015.
  5. 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.Autologous Dendritic Cells Pulsed with Allogeneic Tumor Cell Lysate in Mesothelioma: From Mouse to Human Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 15;24(4):766-776


Internal collaborations
We have close collaborations with key departments within Erasmus MC, such as internal oncology, surgery and radiotherapy. Within the department, we are investing in the initiated extensive collaboration between the fundamental and translational research laboratory and clinicians in some of the clinical focus areas and this is expanding in the other areas. The group is chairing the Academic Centers of Excellence (ACE) Thoracic Oncology and we are involved in the ACE immunotherapy.

External collaborations
We aim to share knowledge on the latest state of the art in terms of treatments and new developments and to involve them in our research. We are chairing the comprehensive cancer network (CCN) on pulmonary cancers of the south-west of the Netherlands and the regional network on interstitial lung diseases. The CCN was initiated by us, based on government policy to ensure the best possible care for each patient by giving regional centers the possibility to discuss complex cases on a regular basis with our experts.

Prof. Joachim Aerts is chair of the core network on mesothelioma of the European Reference Network on Rare Respiratory Diseases (ERN-LUNG), and as such member of the medical steering team of ERN-LUNG. We have long lasting collaborations with multiple internationally renowned centers, both European and world wide,such as the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB, Ghent, Belgium), UZ Antwerp (Belgium), CHRU Lille (France), University of Leicester (UK) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) for research collaboration, multiple grant applications and other initiatives.

Funding & Grants

  • Dendritic cell based immunotherapy to treat malignant mesothelioma H2020-PHC-2015-two-stage grant by the European Unions’ Horizon 2020 research framework programme, consortium with 8 European partners, coordinated by prof. dr. Joachim Aerts, €5,782,965
  • Technology assessment of next generation sequencing in personalized oncology (TANGO), prof. dr. Joachim Aerts co-PI, 2016
  • Towards dendritic cell immunotherapy as maintenance treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer, TKI Health Holland, prof. dr. Joachim Aerts 2016
  • Improving immunotherapy in solid tumors, TKI Health Holland, prof. dr. Joachim Aerts 2019

KWF Anne-Marie

Our team

  • Prof. dr. Joachim Aerts
  • Prof. dr. Anne-Marie Dingemans
  • Dr. Marthe Paats
  • Dr. Daphne Dumoulin
  • Dr. Robin Cornelissen
  • Dr. Heleen Vroman
  • Koen Bezemer