In close collaboration with Stefan Nierkens, PhD of the Immunology Department, we’ve initiated a projects, U-DANCE (Utrecht – Dendritic Cells against Cancer), that focuses on the development of Dendritic Cell Tumor vaccines from unrelated cord blood stem cells. We expect to run two dendritic cell vaccines in clinical trials in the near future, one for acute myeloid leukemia (granted start 2015) and the other in neuroblastoma. There is extensive experience with running CCMO-approved clinical trials using ATMPs over the last years (CCMO is the Dutch Competent Authority). These ATMPs are manufactured under GMP-conditions within the Cell Therapy Facility of the UMC Utrecht.

U-DANCE also focuses on the immune-reconstitution after allogeneic HSCT: pharmaco-kinetics and dynamics of ATG (anti-thymocyte globuline), which is given prior to HSCT and has impact on the immune-reconstitution. A good, predictive immune-reconstitution is of importance to predict the effect of the DC-vaccine.The UMC Utrecht is the national referral center for HSCT in Lysosomal Storage Diseases and Epidermolysis Bullosae (EB). Recently, the CCMO approved a study protocol for a cord blood stem cell therapy in EB (the first in Europe). This clinical study will start early 2014. Furthermore, we collaborate closely with the San Raffaele-Telethon Institute for gene therapy in lysosomal storage diseases and immune-deficiencies. We plan to bring this therapy to Utrecht.