Innocent bystanders or key players?
Viruses are known as pathogens, but they can also be used to fight diseases. An example is oncolytic virus therapy, where viruses are used to destroy cancer cells and leave normal cells unaffected. Besides cancer cells, tumours consist of up to 90% connective tissue. This tissue contains mainly tumour-associated fibroblasts and these are closely involved in tumour progression and resistance to therapy. Vera Kemp, researcher at the Department of Cell and Chemical Biology, will use this grant to study the effect of oncolytic virus therapy on tumour-associated fibroblasts, and vice versa. "I am extremely pleased with this Veni grant," says Kemp. "My research, in addition to basic knowledge about virus-tumour interactions, can contribute to improved treatment of patients with connective tissue-rich tumours."