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Research & Innovation

Read more about the cooperative Research and Innovation projects

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Maartje Schermer receives NWO grant

Prof. dr. Maartje Schermer receives a NWO Open Competition - SSH grant for her researchproject: 'Health and disease as practical concepts: a pragmatist approach to conceptualization of health and diseases'.
Scientific, technological and societal developments affect the way we understand health and disease. These concepts mean different things for different stakeholders, and in different contexts. This project develops a new, pragmatic approach to defining ‘health’ and ‘disease’, taking into account the function of these concepts in various health-related practices.

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BeterKeten grants subsidy to joint scientific research
Collaboration on patient care and scientific research provides added value. That is why, for the third time, the four hospitals, all partners in the BeterKeten foundation, are investing in three valuable, joint promotional processes. This makes an important contribution to joint scientific research, whereby knowledge and expertise of the top clinical hospitals Albert Schweitzer hospital, Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland and Maasstad Hospital are bundled with the academic Erasmus MC. The other hospitals in the region are also closely involved in the investigations.
Of all the entries, three proposals were selected at the beginning of July 2019: all scientific research, focusing on innovation in patient care.

The following proposals were selected:

Predicting the prognosis and response to immunological therapy in patients with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Prof. Peter Sillevis Smitt (Dept. of Neurology) & Dr. Beatrijs Wokke (Dept. of Neurology)
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) is a serious progressive disease in which spinal cord and brain damage occurs. The course of PPMS is unpredictable. A risky immunological treatment has been available since 2018, but this treatment is probably only effective in the subgroup of PPMS patients whose damage is mainly caused by the immune system. The purpose of this study is to recognize this subgroup and to identify prognostic factors. This ultimately leads to customized treatment, unnecessary risks are avoided, and costs are saved. Doctor Janet de Beukelaar, MS neurologist (Albert Schweitzer hospital), Prof. Peter Sillevis Smitt (neurologist at Erasmus MC, also head of Neurology) and Dr. Beatrijs Wokke (MS neurologist, MS center ErasMS, Erasmus MC) are the initiators of the research.

Effect of reduction of inhaled corticosteroids in asthma patients with obesity on asthma control and quality of life
Prof. dr. Liesbeth van Rossum (Dept. of Internal Medicine)
This research focuses on asthma patients who are overweight. They often have a high disease burden and use a lot of medication, including anti-inflammatory drugs in the form of inhaled corticosteroids (puffs). However, these puffs do not seem to work, because there is no airway infection in these patients. There are however, many side effects. During this study these asthma patients will stop their medication and the following effects will be researcherd.
Dr. ir. Jasper Kappen (pulmonologist Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland), dr. Gert Jan. Braunstahl (Longarts, Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland) and Prof. Dr. Liesbeth van Rossum (internist-endocrinologist, Erasmus MC) are leading this research.

The BRAVOO! Study: Better recognition of Reactive Arthritis in children to prevent Over-treatment and Unnecessary care consumption
dr. Sylvia Kamphuis (Dept. of Paediatrics) & Prof. dr. Annemarie van Rossum (Dept. of Paediatrics)
The third project that is facilitated and financed by the BeterKeten focuses on children with joint infections. Joint inflammation disease (arthritis) in children comes in three forms; a reaction of the immune system to a history of infection (reactive arthritis), an arthritis by a bacteria in the joint, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. At the moment it is impossible to distinguish these forms, while these diseases each have to be treated very differently. The aim of this project is to use a structured clinical protocol and innovative techniques to better recognize these forms of arthritis and to be able to give the right treatment immediately. All children with arthritis are seen in the regional hospitals in the first six weeks after the start of the complaints, which makes this project an excellent fit for a research line for a regional hospital. Due to the promised participation of paediatricians from (also the large top clinical) hospitals in the region, the supply of at least 200 patients with arthritis is possible. With a prospective, multi-center study, the role of infectious agents in arthritis is being investigated.
Dr. Xandra van den Tweel (paediatrician, Maasstad Hospital), Dr. Sylvia Kamphuis (paediatrician rheumatologist / immunologist at Erasmus MC) and Prof. Annemarie van Rossum (paediatrician infectiologist / immunologist at Erasmus MC) are conducting this research.
























Health Holland and Spierfonds award research of Pim Pijnappel

A major problem in developing therapies for skeletal muscle disorders is the limited availability of human model systems for preclinical research. Animal models or human cells in tissue culture often do not respond to medication as cells in intact organs in the human body would do. This research proposes to develop a muscle-on-chip model to overcome this problem. This model will provide an improvement over existing models because it will involve patient-derived cells in the relevant architecture. The muscle-on-chip model will consist of a chamber (chip) that contains skeletal muscle cells in a 3D culture (a muscle bundle) and in which non-invasive parameters will be measured such as force generated by the muscle bundle. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) will be used as the source from which the muscle bundles will grow. These iPSCs will be from control individuals, patients with Pompe disease, and patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. The muscle-on-chip model will enable the researchers to study disease mechanisms and aid in the testing and development of existing and novel therapies for Pompe disease and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.

Click here for more information (only available in Dutch).

Three Erasmus MC Efficiency Studies have granted funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)

The THumb osteoarthritis Exercise TriAl (THETA); a multicenter, randomized controlled trial on exercise therapy with an orthosis compared to an orthosis alone in patients with thumb base osteoarthritis
Drs. Robbert Wouters (Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine)
The THETA-study will investigate the effect of combination therapy (splint and exercise therapy) in patients with thumb joint base arthrosis, and compare it to splint therapy alone. This study will specifically investigate whether this combination treatment will result in a stronger reduction of pain complaints and if there is a difference in the number of patients that will still need a surgery after therapy.

How should we treat a patient with a distal radius fracture after closed reduction? A cluster RCT
Dr. Joost Colaris (Dept. of Orthopedics)
This project will assess whether broken wrists are more efficiently held together by a forearm plaster instead of a forearm splint.

The SIX (Shoulder Injection and eXercise) Study: A pragmatic study for the treatment of persistent shoulder pain in primary care
Dr. Jos Runhaar (Dept. of General Medicine)
This project will investigate whether exercise therapy is more effective than corticosteroid injections in patients with persisting shoulder complaints.


Longfonds awards Consortium Grant to Marlies Wijsenbeek

Sarcoidosis is a multisystem, granulomatous disorder, most commonly affecting the lungs. Symptom burden is high, and quality of life (QoL) and social participation are negatively affected. Prednisone is currently the first-choice therapy in pulmonary sarcoidosis and leads to short-term improvement of lung function. Unfortunately, prednisone has major side-effects and is associated with impaired QoL. Methotrexate is presently the second-line therapy, and it appears to have fewer side-effects.

Wijsenbeek and colleagues hypothesize that first-line treatment with methotrexate is as effective as prednisone, with fewer side-effects and better QoL. In a prospective, randomized, non-blinded, multi-center, non-inferiority trial they will investigate effectiveness and tolerability of methotrexate versus prednisone as first-line therapy in pulmonary sarcoidosis and aim to obtain novel insights in course of disease and treatment response by studying known biomarkers as well as new, potentially valuable markers. If the study confirms the hypothesis that methotrexate is as effective as prednisone as first line treatment for sarcoidosis, this will initiate a change in practice and international guidelines, and to improvement of care.

Click here for the press release by the Longfonds.

Dr. Sinno Simons, Prof.dr. Karel Allegaert and Prof.dr. Irwin Reiss have received €2.2 million from ZonMw Goed Gebruik Geneesmiddelen for their project "Doxapram to protect preterm newborns: an international double blinded multicenter randomized placebo controlled trial"
Preterm birth is the most common cause of neonatal death and related to important long term morbidity. Invasive mechanical ventilation is often needed after preterm birth because of underdeveloped lungs and breathing center, but is related to impaired outcome. Today, invasive mechanical ventilation is therefore minimized in preterm infants. The newborns' own breathing is supported with non-invasive support with air and oxygen, and the breathing is stimulated with caffeine treatment. Unfortunately, apnea and oxygen desaturations often remain a problem in preterm infants. The desaturations and fluctuations in oxygen potentially affect the brain and its development.
Treatment with doxapram provides a promising solution in addition to standard of care for these infants. Doxapram is increasingly used off-label in our neonatal intensive care units. However, high quality research on efficacy and safety on the long term perspective of doxapram is missing, and urgently needed. This study by Simons and colleagues is a unique multicenter double blinded randomized placebo controlled trial, designed to determine if doxapram is able to protect newborns on the long term perspective. The study aims to provide the highly needed knowledge about doxapram - if doxapram proves to be effective and safe, its use can be implemented into (inter)national guidelines.

Click here for more information (only available in Dutch).

  Alliantie Nederland RookvrijAlliantie Nederland Rookvrij Onderzoeksoproep Tabaksontmoedigingsbeleid
Expansion of smoke-free zones: how does this protect children and what does it take to introduce them in the Netherlands?

In this study funded by the Alliantie Nederland Rookvrij , Jasper Been and colleagues will investigate how smoke-free areas can be optimally introduced and maintained, based on knowledge from other countries, among other things.
The results of the project will be discussed with politicians in The Hague and in municipalities, health funds, researchers, and with administrators of hospitals and schools, for example. They also will be shared via videos and social media. In this way, the project will help ensure that smoke-free areas are introduced as effectively as possible in the future.

Click here for more information.
NWO-ENW Open Competition Klein - Anatomical and functional dissection of cerebellar vermis-fastigial nucleus module in delay eyeblink conditioning
One of the most important issues in neuroscience concerns the way in which our brain receives sensory input from the body, processes it, and then produces the right motor output. This study by Zhenyu Gao will make use of Pavlovian "eyeblink" conditioning, a behavioral model that is ideal for studying the cerebellar mechanisms involved in sensorimotor learning. In this project, the researchers will investigate the exact role of a previously neglected cerebellar route involved in "eyeblink" conditioning. If this goal is achieved, the results will reveal the existence of a new cerebellar pathway involved in learning and in performing a well-defined cerebellar learning task. This could potentially add important new information to the conceptual framework associated with sensorimotor learning in the cerebellum.

Click here for more information.
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  KWF-logo5 Erasmus MC researchers have received funding from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) for their research projects

Five Erasmus MC researchers have received funding totaling €2,315,399.28 from the Dutch Cancer Society for their research projects. The happy recipients are Dr. Peter Valk (Dept. of Hematology), Dr. Stefan Sleijfer (Dept. of Medical Oncology), Dr. Eline Bunnik (Dept. of Public Health), Dr. Yann Seimbille (Dept. of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine) and Dr. John Martens (Dept. of Medical Oncology). Their research projects will investigate: better prediction of recurrent tumors with molecular minimal residual disease detection in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, sensitive detection of circulating tumor cells to detect residual disease in breast cancer patients after 5y of additional hormone therapy, ethical access and payment models for expensive and novel cancer treatments, long-working SSTR-antagonists and pre-targeted alpha-therapy for a more safe and efficient treatment of neuro-endocrine tumors, assessment of most appropriate blood test to monitor the disease in breast cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

The mission of the Dutch Cancer Society is to combat cancer, improve survival, and improve patient's quality of life. The Dutch Cancer Society invests in cancer research, since they believe that cancer rates can only be reduced by better understanding of the disease.

Dutch National Research Agenda  - Research on Routes by Consortia funding for three Erasmus MC projects

In the 2018-2019 round of funding for the Dutch National Research Agenda (NWA-ORC), Erasmus MC is active in three consortia, and is project leader for two of them.

SYMPHONY: Orchestrating personalised treatment for patients with bleeding disorders granted
Amount rewarded: 4.1 million euros

In SYMPHONY, a NWA project led by Marjon Cnossen from Erasmus MC, patients, doctors and scientists work together to personalise treatment in bleeding disorders by a patient-orchestrated approach. Harmonisation of efforts to improve laboratory tests, treatment, and understanding of blood clot formation, will show which treatment is best for each individual patient.

Preparing for vector-borne virus outbreaks in a changing world: a One Health Approach
Amount rewarded: 9 million euros
The Netherlands, with its dense population of humans and livestock, international transport and travel hubs, and water-dominated landscape is particularly vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks. The consortium led by Marion Koopmans from Erasmus MC aims to understand if and how changes in climate, farming, water management and travel lead to mosquito-borne disease outbreaks, in order to be better prepared.

Optoacoustic sensor and ultrasonic microbubbles for dosimetry in proton therapy
Amount rewarded: 1.7 million euros

Radiation therapy with X-ray is the standard for cancer treatment. In contrast to X-ray therapy, proton therapy treats only the tumour without damaging the surrounding tissue. In this proposal, a large consortium led by Nico the Jong of TU Delft and including among others Erasmus MC, will use microbubbles and a new very sensitive optical-ultrasound receiver, to exactly monitor the exact position and dose of the proton-beam, which is essential for optimal treatment.

For more information, see the original press release by NWO here

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