Indra van Zundert

Next-generation cancer therapy: gene editing meets nanotechnology
Started on October, 2017
Prof. Hiroshi Uji-i (promotor)

email Indra van Zundert

Cancer is one of the major causes of death in our society. The anti-cancer drugs currently used in chemotherapy produce several side effects and, although fatal for almost all cells in a tumor, a small percentage of cells appear to resist the treatment. Therefore, it is urgent to design new therapies that specifically target these cells while causing no harm to healthy tissue. The resistance to multiple drugs is linked to the presence of specific molecules at the cellular plasma membrane, that actively pump out chemical drugs (efflux pumps). Multi-drug resistant cells are suggested to be the main cause of treatment failure and relapse. In recent years, nanoparticle-based drug delivery platforms have emerged as the next-generation of pharmaceutical compounds. The surface of the nanoparticles can be modified to target specific cells, while the core of the particle can be loaded with anti-cancer drugs. In this project we want to go one step further and develop multifunctional nanoparticles to attack multi-drug resistant cells. In addition to loading the particles with anti-cancer drug(s) and targeting them to cancer cells, we will supply them with tools to reduce the amount of efflux pumps at the cell membrane. This can be achieved using cutting-edge gene editing methodologies. The versatility of the resulting nanoparticles can be infinite.


Patient-derived organoids from endometrial disease capture clinical heterogeneity and are amenable to drug screening
Matteo Boretto, Nina Maenhoudt, Xinlong Luo, Aurélie Hennes, Bram Boeckx, Bich Bui, Ruben Heremans, Lisa Perneel, Hiroto Kobayashi, Indra Van Zundert, Hilde Brems, Benoit Cox, Marc Ferrante, Hiroshi Uji-I, Kian Peng Koh, Thomas D’Hooghe, Arne Vanhie, Ignace Vergote, Christel Meuleman, Carla Tomassetti, Diether Lambrechts, Joris Vriens, Dirk Timmerman, Hugo Vankelecom
Published in Nature Cell Biology, August 2019 (see publication in Journal )