public-private partnership

Top Sector LSH and Dutch Cooperation of Health Foundations invest €15 million in immunology research

€15 million made available for immune system research

The Dutch Cooperation of Health Foundations (SGF), a group of 20 health foundations that includes the Dutch Cancer Society and ReumaNederland, have joined forces with the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health and the industry by investing 15 million euros in promising immunology research projects. The new research projects aim to unravel the operation of the human immune system. This will increase our understanding of a variety of diseases that disrupt the immune system, such as cancer, rheumatism and MS, and enable new treatments to be developed. This is the first time that such a broad collaboration has been established in the Netherlands to investigate the immune system over a wide range of diseases.

The crucial role of the immune system in diseases

The immune system protects us against numerous infections and diseases. Many diseases cause the immune system to dysfunction; the immune system responds too frequently when a person has an autoimmune disease like rheumatism or diabetes, for example, whereas in some cases the immune system fails to respond frequently enough, for example to cancerous cells. The immune system plays an important role in diseases like MS, allergies, chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal system or respiratory tract, and the development of cardiac arrests and cerebrovascular accidents. Despite major developments in the treatment of these diseases, many patients remain uncured ways of preventing these diseases have yet to be found.

A proper working immune system keeps humans healthy. The research projects should make it possible to navigate the immune system earlier at the start of a disease. The derailment of cells plays a crucial role in the early development of many diseases. If the derailment can be restored or prevented then a real cure is in sight.

With our research we can make a difference for future generations. Patients currently die because of the illness, its effects, the side effects of therapy or because the disease becomes chronic and the patients rely on heavy medication. This has a severe impact on how people structure their lives’, says Professor Taco Kuijpers (Amsterdam UMC), project leader of one of the new research projects.

Together, faster and better

An important criterion in awarding the research funding was the sustainable collaboration between research institutions, businesses and health foundations. ‘We now have now brought together the top of Dutch immunology who are going to work on this important topic. Together we can achieve better results faster and offer a better future to patients with these awful diseases’, says Emiel Rolink, director of the Samenwerkende Gezondheidsfondsen (SGF).

The Top Sector LSH is pleased to support these large collaborations between researchers, companies and health foundations. ‘The future of people with diseases such as cancer, rheumatism or diabetes is the best incentive for close collaborations like these. Only then will the innovations that these people need be realised as quickly as possible’, says Nico van Meeteren, executive director of the Top Sector LSH.

Read more about the research projects and see the visualisation of this unique collaboration (in Dutch).