Euregional PACT II Partners

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Maastricht University

Dysregulation of programmed cell death is a key hallmark of many human diseases. The lab of Prof. Chris Reutelingsperger focuses on the basic processes occurring during programmed cell death (apoptosis). The human protein annexin A5 binds strongly to apoptotic cell membranes and can be utilized in cell death detection and quantitation strategies. In addition annexin A5 can be used as a targeting vector to direct therapeutics to diseased tissues. Our basic research program includes exploring the biochemistry of annexin A5, constructing tailored genetic mutants, and optimizing conjugation methods to radiopharmaceuticals and other compounds such as pharmaca.

The vast majority of registered anticancer drugs work through inducing cancer cell apoptosis. This process can be monitored by annexin A5 imaging, both using nuclear imaging in patients, and by optical imaging in small animals. This technology offers a new platform through which the speed of cancer drug development could significantly be accelerated. To realize this aspiration, the Euregional PACT II project was setup. One goal of this project is the development of molecular and/or targeted strategies for disease-molecule specific therapy. Possible applications include target-guided delivery of liposomal drug carriers to target tissues, or directly conjugated drug molecules or nucleotide sequences to serve as smart therapeutic compounds.
Prof. Dr. Chris Reutelingsperger Project Leader This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

University of Antwerp

The Applied Molecular Biology Research (AMBIOR) group focuses on human papillomavirus (HPV) and the causal relationship between persistent infection with high-risk HPV and cervical cancer. The AMBIOR group believes in an interdisciplinary research approach to achieve progress in the HPV field and combines the basic sciences of virology, molecular and cellular biology with applied and clinical sciences such as screening and vaccinology. Its mission statement is aimed at integrated HPV research with a focus on increasing the understanding of the viral biology (HPV oncogene expression, integration, internalisation and intracellular processing) and the clinical application of biomarkers in cervical screening (HPV viral load, integration, protein markers).

The AMBIOR group works within the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology of the University of Antwerp, which has extensive experience in microscopic research techniques in biomedical applications and manages the core facility ‘Biomedical Microscopic Imaging’ of the University of Antwerp. High-end infrastructure and expertise for confocal live cell imaging is abundantly present in the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology.

AMBIOR is a partner of Euregional PACT II to get more insight into the endocytic pathway of anxA5 in the context of targeted drug delivery. Using the HPV-induced cervical carcinogenesis as a model, the specific circumstances of phosphatidylserine-exposure and anxA5 internalisation will be studied. Additionally, the effect of the conjugation of therapeutic molecules to anxA5 on cell entry, subcellular trafficking and cell viability will be evaluated
Prof. Dr. John-Paul Bogers Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

K.U. Leuven

The division of Nuclear Medicine is based at the University Hospital Gashuisberg, Leuven, and is part of the Faculty of Medicine of the K.U.Leuven. It exists of a clinical department and a small animal imaging centre (MoSAIC). The Laboratory of Radiopharmacy is a research laboratory of the faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the K.U.Leuven. The Laboratory has a close collaboration with the Nuclear Medicine department.

The prime activity of the K.U.Leuven group is the radiolabelling of AnnexinV-toxin with 99mTc, 68Ga or 18F to enable in vivo imaging of the probe. It is crucial that the radioactive label does not interfere with the targeting and cell-killing capacity of the fusion protein. The biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of the radiolabelled fusion protein will be studied in healthy mice, in a model of hepatic apoptosis and in tumour bearing animals.

Prof. Dr. Luc Mortelmans Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Prof. Dr. Alfons Verbruggen Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ghent University

The research unit of Prof. Peter Vandenabeele at Ghent University tries to generate fundamental knowledge about the biology and potential biomedical application of a set of important molecules (caspases, RIP kinases) and their targets in cell death and inflammation. Molecules of interest are studied at three major levels: molecules (structure, function, complexes, substrates), cells (intracellular signalling, intercellular communication), and organisms (transgenic models in various disease models, targeting signal transduction pathways in various disease models with focus on intestine and skin). Our aim is to define molecular targets in these pathways that might lead to the development of therapeutic strategies to interfere in a specific way with cell death and inflammation.

Within activities 2 and 3 of the Euroginal PACT II project, several therapeutic and theragnostic molecules will be designed to be tested for their use in cancer treatment. The unit of Peter Vandenabeele will examine the mechanisms of cell death induced by this therapeutic/theragnostic molecules by setting up in vitro cultures and cytotoxicity assays

Prof. Dr. Peter Vandenabeele Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

RWTH Aachen

Standard pharmaceuticals currently applied in the treatment of cancer diseases, have the disadvantage of inducing considerable side effects, mostly because their cytotoxic effect is not specifically restricted to the treatment of tumor cells. One promsing new therapeutic concept for therapies capable to target malignant cells in a more selective way are based on the use of antibodies from animal-derived or natural ligands which specifically bind to the diseased cells or tissues. Immunotoxin fusion proteins (IT) are composed of these cell-specific structures coupled to plant or bacterial cytotoxic agents which are already established for the treatment of malignancies. These proteins offer the chance to focus these highly effective therapies just to the malignant cells. Recently the first 2 IT have been approven by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia. However, immunogenicity is considered to be the main problem with therapeutic fusion proteins regarding regulatory, quality and safety issues. Therefore, the research group for Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapy headed by Prof. Stefan Barth has developed human immunotoxin fusion proteins with reduced immunogenicity and promising results in vitro regarding specificity and efficacy. Using Phage-Display-Technology we are able to generate human antibody fragments which are specific for tumor cells. In the next step, we fused these isolated antibody fragments with human cytotoxic enzymes like proteases or kinases for the construction of human immunotoxins for cancer-specific therapy. These know how and technologies will be delivered to Euregional Pact II to allow the development of phosphatidylserine-targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds for the treatment of malignant diseases. The effects of treatment will be monitored in appropriate preclinical animal models

Prof. Dr. Stefan Barth Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


LifetecZONe is the network association for SME’s in Southern Netherlands and offers a one-stop-shop for all information on starting and developing your company and on new developments in the Lifetec sector. We support your product innovations in offering networking opportunities and in giving access to finance resources (subsidies & starter grants) . We offer projects to stimulate innovation and cooperation in clusters, and participate in larger (Euregional) cluster projects. Furthermore LifetecZONe is active in attracting and facilitating new businesses in South-East Netherlands, and plays an active role in promoting our region internationally. LifetecZONe is an initiative of LIOF, BOM and Syntens and is a member-based organization with 120 members active in Medical Technology, Life Sciences, Health & Care.

Mrs. Ria Hein Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Mrs. Josee Schrijnemakers Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


FlandersBio is the umbrella organisation for the Life Sciences and biotechnology sector in Flanders. A dynamic non-profit, fee based organisation with more than 180 members that supports and facilitates the sector’s sustained development. The FlandersBio network brings together companies with innovative, R&D-driven activities in the life sciences – companies that are for example developing biopharmaceuticals, medical technologies or agricultural or industrial biotech products. Our network welcomes companies with production activities based in Flanders as well as academic research institutes and providers of capital, services and technologies to the life sciences community

Mrs. Ann Van Gysel Partner This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it