Hematology deals with blood diseases, such as benign and malignant diseases of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes, clotting abnormalities, and blood transfusion problems. Researchers from Hid-resident Sanquin focus mainly on anemia, hemorrhage and hemostasis. There are many diseases in this area, but fortunately there are just as many treatments. Some sound like science fiction, such as mimicking bone marrow (which makes blood forming cells) to create an inexhaustible source of (cultured) blood outside the body for blood transfusions. Sanquin researchers, and others, are already working hard on this technique. Or on the deliberate introduction of a virus into a patient, where the virus is used to transport genetic material to improve the functioning of the body. Improbable? Hid teams are already well advanced in this respect.
Thanks to the giant strides that have been made in oncology, not all cases of cancer have to be fatal.
Although we already know a lot, we want (and need) to discover a lot more about this condition in order to be able to offer all cancer patients a treatment that suits their specific condition. One of the greatest breakthroughs of our time has been the discovery that our own immune system is an extremely powerful weapon in the fight against cancer. So instead of crippling the entire body’s own defences with chemotherapy that fights not just malignant but also healthy cells, we help the immune system to do the best job it can.
The Hid it is home to the Laboratory for Cell Therapy, where the T-cells that are extremely useful for this purpose are cultivated, and where research is conducted into how the T-cells can acquire even more good properties in order to focus their fight. The Hid is also home to parties that help biotech clients characterise and develop their own tumour-specific targets (Pharma & Biotech Services from Sanquin Diagnositiek and MHC services from Sanquin Reagents).