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Prevention of graft-versus-host disease after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Introduction
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) may provide a life-saving treatment for
patients with hematologic diseases, bone marrow failure syndromes, metabolic diseases and
immunodeficiency. However, replacement of the patientís bone marrow with bone marrow from an
immunologically distinct donor confers the risk of donor-recipient allo-immunity, also called graftversus-
host disease (GVHD). GVHD affects 35-50% of HSCT recipients and results in high morbidity and
15-30% mortality. Despite intense research, there is yet no satisfactory strategy to prevent and/or treat
GVDH.

Aim
This student project aims to identify novel compounds that induce T-cell tolerance in vitro and that may
in future be used to prevent GVHD after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Methods
This is a basic laboratory study. The student will obtain expertise in multiple laboratory techniques,
including cell culture, hematopoietic stem cell isolation, flow cytometry and proliferation/differentiation
assays (colony-forming assay, cobblestone-assay). The student will learn to analyze and present his/her
results at lab meetings and in a written report.

What do we have to offer?
The Department of Tumor Immunology is an internationally leading team in HSCT research. Depending
on project progress and duration of the rotation, there is the possibility to present the results at an
(inter-)national conference.

For more information about our department, visit https://www.tumor-immunology-utrecht.nl or our
YouTube channel https://youtu.be/tT8wBN1HvEo and https://youtu.be/ly1zIyQbWz0

Requirements
We are looking for a highly motivated (bio-)medical student with interest in immunology, ste, cell
biology and translational research. The duration of the rotation is 6-9 months.

Possibilities for combination with a clinical rotation
Yes

Contact persons
Wilhelmina Childrenís Hospital, Department of Tumor Immunology
Dr. Stefan Nierkens, snierkens@umcutrecht.nl
Dr. J.J. Boelens, j.j.boelens@umcutrecht.nl