Dutch Cancer Society grant obtained by Coppes group:

04 May 2017

Rob Coppes (Cell Biology/Radiation Oncology), Thera Links (Endocrinology) and John Plukker (Surgery) have obtained a grant from the Dutch Cancer society (KWF) for a project entitled: AUTOLOGOUS STEM CELL THERAPY FOR CANCER TREATMENT INDUCED HYPOTHYROIDISM

In the Netherlands only, around 10.000 thyroid cancer survivors depend on daily thyroid hormone substitution therapy (levothyroxine) for the treatment of hypothyroidism after total thyroidectomy as part of the thyroid cancer therapy. Almost half of these patients suffer from complaints of lasting fatigue, constipation, weight increase, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, which are mainly attributed to the loss of an optimal balance in the subtle feedback systems and cellular pathways facilitated by hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HTP) axis. These complaints collectively have a major negative impact on quality of life. This hormonal imbalance is even more critical in children after thyroidectomy, as thyroid hormones are strongly correlated with brain and neural development, and normal growth.

Regeneration of a functional thyroid tissue using autologous thyroid stem cells derived organoids may restore the HTP balance. Currently, we are able to culture murine and human thyroid gland stem cells and tissue resembling organoids, that contain all thyroid gland lineages. Moreover, dispersed thyroid stem cells and organoids are able to form a functional thyroid tissue in a (xeno-)transplantation mouse model after iodine-(I131) radiation induced thyroid gland ablation. The overall aim of the current application is to develop a clinical applicable autologous thyroid stem cell/organoid transplantation protocol that allows the (re)generation of healthy functioning thyroid gland after differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) treatment.

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