Utrecht-based professors Hans Clevers and Hans Bos involved in founding

Top-level scientists join forces with new Oncode Institute

Today, Queen Máxima opens a new, virtual institute where 560 academic researchers join forces in the fight against cancer in order to make a difference for patients. The five founders include the Utrecht-based professors Hans Bos and Hans Clevers.

The Oncode Institute focuses on three pillars: excellent research, intensive collaboration and getting treatment methods into clinics quicker. The goal is to translate fundamental insights into cancer as efficiently as possible into better and more affordable healthcare. In the upcoming five years, the Dutch Cancer Society, the ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Education, Culture and Science and Health, Welfare and Sport, Health~Holland, NWO and ZonMw will invest a total of 120 million euros in Oncode Institute.

“The enormous value of fundamental cancer research is utilised better with this far-reaching collaboration.”

Five prominent Dutch cancer researchers joined forces to realise Oncode Institute. Among them were the Utrecht-based Distinguished Professor Hans Clevers, who is also a group leader at the Hubrecht Institute, a professor of Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht and scientific director at the Princess Máxima Center, and the Utrecht-based professor of Molecular Cancer Research Hans Bos. The other founders are René Bernards and Anton Berns (both from the Netherlands Cancer Institute – Antoni van Leeuwenhoek) and Jan Hoeijmakers (Erasmus MC and Princess Máxima Center).

Cast-iron team

With collaboration as a starting point, they join forces with 43 excellent research leaders in the field of cancer in the Netherlands, all coming from the nine partner institutes of Oncode Institute. The contribution from Utrecht is big: on behalf of UMC Utrecht, seven research teams participate in Oncode, four other research leaders of the Hubrecht Institute are also professors at Utrecht University.

All research leaders also bring their own research teams with them, which means that a total of 560 academic researchers are working together within one coordinating strategy to crack the code of cancer. Hans Bos says: “The enormous value of fundamental cancer research is utilised better with this far-reaching collaboration between researchers, supported by a cast-iron team of experts in the field of knowledge utilisation.”

Impact in the clinic

One in three Dutch citizens will get cancer. And every hour, five people die from it as a consequence in the Netherlands. In order to outsmart cancer, Oncode Institute wants to better understand the origin and progression of the disease at a molecular level. In order to get new treatment methods into the clinics as soon as possible, Oncode Institute appoints a team of knowledge-transfer experts. Exactly this step must improve the quality of life for patients and even save lives.

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The Oncode Institute