Amsterdam UMC


The VUMC team based at the Immunotherapy laboratory of the Department of Medical Oncology of the VU University Medical Center, contributes considerable expertise on clinical study design and execution, HNSCC pathogenesis and biology, DC subset and T cell phenotypic and functional testing and immune monitoring, and multiplexed immunohistochemistry. By performing both pre-clinical and clinical research, VUMC aim to rapidly translate findings in the lab to novel or improved clinically applicable therapies, but also to further submit clinical findings to experimental testing in the lab. Close contact between the medical doctors in the clinic and scientists in the lab facilitate this. All oncology research at the VUMC (part of Amsterdam University Medical Centers) is clustered in the Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA). The CCA provides the rigorous clinical translational research infrastructure that is needed for cancer drug development, and has a long track record of effective clinical study management with multiple immunization strategies in cancer patients. The CCA also provides one of the leading head and neck cancer services in the Netherlands, treating approximately 400 new cancer patients a year. The Medical Oncology Dept. has at its disposal a 3-bed Phase-I/II trial facility with a specifically equipped monitoring laboratory.

Meet the team

Prof. Tanja de Gruijl

Tanja heads the Immunotherapy and Immune monitoring Lab at the VUmc-Cancer Center Amsterdam of the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, where she has been appointed Professor of Translational Tumour Immunology at the Department of Medical Oncology. With over 25 years of experience in the field of tumour immunology, her research ranges from preclinical topics to the immune monitoring of Phase I-III clinical studies and includes topics like the immune potentiation of tumour-draining lymph nodes and the tumour microenvironment, dendritic cell targeting and the control of myeloid differentiation, immunological arming of oncolytic adenoviruses, and nanobody-mediated targeting of (NK)T-cell subsets. She has supervised the research that has led to the allogeneic DC vaccination platform of the VUmc spin-off company DCPrime BV and is co-founder of LAVA Therapeutics. She has recently been elected on the board of directors of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Dr. Jens Voortman

Jens is a trained medical oncologist and staff clinician at the Department of Medical Oncology, Amsterdam UMC (AUMC), location VUMC. Head and neck cancer is his primary clinical and research focus. He is a member of the AUMC-VUMC Head and Neck Tumor Multidisciplinary Team as well as a member of the Dutch Head and Neck Tumor Workgroup (“NWHHT”) and the EORTC Head and Neck Group. As a PI or collaborator in numerous
clinical studies, he has extensive experience in conducting clinical research, including phase 1 research. He has many years of experience with immunotherapy treatment of patients with cancer, including head and neck cancer and as part of his translational research focus, he is clinical leader of the Head and Neck Cancer Group of the Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA) Liquid Biopsy Center, which aims to develop minimally invasive novel disease biomarkers.

Yoni van Duivenvoorde

Yoni holds an MSc degree in nutrition and Health and has over five years of experience in medical research. She currently works as a trial coordinator and data manager in the Clinical Trials Office of the Department of Medical Oncology in Amsterdam UMC.

Joyce Bakker

Joyce has a BSc degree in Biomedical Sciences and has been working as a research technician for over three years in the Immunotherapy Lab of the Amsterdam UMC Cancer Center, where she has been involved in the immune monitoring of various clinical trials. Her expertise is in polychromatic flow cytometry and functional T cell read-outs.  

Katja Jordanova

Katja is a medical biologist by training with extensive experience in translational oncology research and over 120 publications to her name. She is a Principal Investigator at the Center for Gynecological Oncology at Amsterdam UMC. Her work focuses on the etiological, genetic and immunological background of various HPV-related malignancies. For the advanced immune monitoring program of TIGER she will lend her expertise on spatially resolved multi-parameter analysis of cancer tissues.