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Prinses Máxima Centrum

New treatments in the Máxima Center by combining care and research

Care and research into childhood cancer form an integrated collaboration in the Princess Máxima Center. This leads to accelerated scientific breakthroughs. Innovations in a range of areas are currently giving an impulse to new treatment methods. Concrete examples: the use of CAR T-cells for immunotherapy, the development of organoids and sequencing of all tumors and steps that are being taken in the field of psychosocial support for child and family.

Making the difference
In recent years, the Máxima has worked hard on the integration of care and research. To increase the chances of a cure for every child without side effects, the center carries out a lot of research into new treatment methods. For example, CAR T-cell therapy is a new treatment in the Netherlands, for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) who do not respond well to regular treatment. It’s a form of immunotherapy in which the child's own immune cells are adjusted in a laboratory in such a way that when they are put back in the bloodstream, they recognize, attack and destroy the cancer cells. The cancer cells are killed by the child's own immune system, with as little damage as possible to healthy cells.

In addition, neurosurgeons, researchers and pediatric oncologists are working on finding new ways to administer drugs directly into a brain tumor, such as with the robotic arm that was recently purchased thanks to Tijn's nail polish campaign.

Recently, researchers at the Máxima have discovered that all neuroblastoma tumors descend from the same embryonic cell type. In the future, this may lead to new targets for targeted therapy for this form of childhood cancer.

Research is also underway on the first molecularly targeted fluorescent agent that selectively illuminates neuroblastoma cells. This can help surgeons during an operation to remove the tumor more precisely and with fewer complications.