DNA-Guided Care Research Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C−Dutch Cancer Society
Translational Research Team:
Prospective Use of DNA-Guided Personalized Cancer Treatment

Grant Term: January 2013−December 2017

The ultimate goal of personalized, or “precision,” medicine—delivering the right drug to the right cancer patient—requires a detailed understanding of how alterations in tumor DNA are linked to responses to cancer drugs. The SU2C−Dutch Cancer Society (DCS) Translational Research Team studies how changes in the tumor DNA of patients can be used to predict sensitivity to specific anticancer agents.

Supported by:


This SU2C−DCS Translational Research Team is investigating how changes in the tumor DNA of patients can be used to predict sensitivity to specific anticancer agents. This requires detailed analysis of the alterations in large numbers of genes in tumors and then studies of patient responses to specific cancer drugs. The results will enable doctors to make far more educated choices for the treatment of individual patients, leading to greater therapeutic benefit while reducing the toxicity of drugs that are not effective.

The research team asks patients to provide biopsies before and two months after the start of their treatment regimens. DNA is isolated from these biopsies and analyzed for mutations in 2,000 potentially informative genes. Genetic changes are correlated with treatment outcomes, and DNA profiles are generated that can predict whether patients with breast or colorectal cancer will respond to specific treatments.

The researchers incorporate computational biology in their efforts to generate predictive DNA profiles. By linking the clinical data to the genetic data of the tumor and utilizing all available information on the biology of that cancer, doctors can further refine patient selection criteria for a specific treatment.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C−DCS Translational Research Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C−DCS Translational Research Team.

Research Team Members

Emile E. Voest, MD, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute

René Bernards, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute

Trey Ideker, PhD
University of California, San Diego
Principal Investigator

Stefan Sleijfer, MD, PhD
Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
Principal Investigator

Laura van ’t Veer, PhD
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Principal Investigator

Alice Tondeur
Netherlands Cancer Institute
Project Manager

“We urgently need to improve the outcome of clinical trials and be more ambitious for our patients. We strongly feel that analyzing tumor DNA will not only help us to identify cancer patients that are more likely to respond to a specific anticancer drug but also avoid that patients are exposed to a toxic drug that does not provide benefit. This SU2C grant will allow us to investigate the value of DNA-guided treatment.”

Emile E. Voest, MD, PhD
Netherlands Cancer Institute


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and six-monthly reviews by senior scientists. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click below to see summaries of the research results so far for the SU2C–DCS Translational Research Team.



DNA-Guided Precision Medicine for Cancer: A Case of Irrational Exuberance?
Voest EE and Bernards R (2016)
Cancer Discovery 6:130–132.
Multilevel Models Improve Precision and Speed of IC50 Estimates
Vis DJ, Bombardelli L, Lightfoot H, et al. (2016)
Pharmacogenomics 7:691-700.


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At StandUpToCancer.org/ClinicalTrials, you’ll find information and answers to common questions about clinical trials. Learn more and talk to your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be the best choice for you.



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