The Daniel Den Hoed Foundation, Erasmus MC, awarded a research grant of €500,000 to Prof Guido Jenster (Urology) and Prof Frederik Verburg (Radiology & Nuclear Medicine) for their work on antibodies to specifically detect and treat bladder cancer.
The work on small antibodies against cancer was initiated almost 10 years ago in the Experimental Urology Lab with the selection of nanobodies against PSMA (Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen [PMID: 25977460]) under supervision of Dr. Wytske van Weerden. Nanobodies are small antibodies that can be generated from special antibodies produced by Llamas that have been immunized with human cancer cells. The billions of nanobodies, produced by the Llama can then be used to select those nanobodies that bind a specific protein or a specific cell type such as bladder cancer cells. In close collaboration with the department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, the nanobodies can be labeled with a radionuclide for PET/SPECT imaging and irradiation of the tumor for treatment. This work has successfully been performed for the PSMA nanobody and will be expanded using novel nanobodies against bladder cancer.