Partner Profile Leiden University Medical Centre

Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) is a medical centre of excellence that provides clinical inpatient and outpatient care, modern education, and innovative basic, translational and clinical research, pursuing excellence in each of these areas. The Department of Infectious Diseases at LUMC has a longstanding tradition in trying to understand host responses to infection, and to unravel underlying mechanisms of protective and pathologic immunity. A particular focus is on mycobacterial infections such as leprosy and tuberculosis, but also related infectious diseases caused by intracellular pathogens, and include the design of more effective intervention strategies (vaccines, treatments, diagnostics).

LUMC’s  tasks and roles in the ADITEC project:
In ADITEC, LUMC is leader of the work package on molecular signatures of immunity, immunogenicity and safety. The work is carried out together with six other EU partner laboratories, and aims to identify key molecular mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity during vaccine induced effector and memory responses. Secondly, LUMC aims to identify biomarkers -or correlates- of safety, immunogenicity and protection, in close collaboration with the clinical work packages.

LUMC’s contribution in advancing immunization technologies in the coming years:
The task of LUMC is to develop a multiplex transcriptome profiling assay (dual colour Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification) which can be used to monitor the expression of innate and adaptive immune-response signaling as well as inflammation associated genes, e.g. following vaccination with innovative vaccines such as those developed and evaluated within ADITEC. This will be an important step in monitoring and further optimizing these novel immunization strategies.

LUMC’s contribution so far:
LUMC has successfully developed this assay already for around 150 human genes and are currently further extending the gene sets. The platform offers several advantages over other approaches. For example, it is highly quantitative, semi-high throughput, relatively cheap, and allows for screening of larger sets of samples which is ideal when it comes to immune monitoring clinical trials in which larger numbers of samples taken at different time points need to be analysed.

ADITEC's revenues for LUMC:
The ADITEC project will allow LUMC to use and apply our new technology to a wide variety of well-designed and well controlled human clinical trials, in which different vaccines are tested. These include both viral and bacterial vaccines, and studies in younger as well as elderly cohorts. Very few studies have addressed human responses at a more global level in such populations, and LUMC expects that important new insights will come out to these efforts. The participating researchers are excited to be part of such a highly respected and EU wide network of excellent scientists and clinicians.

Scientists involved:

  • Tom H.M. Ottenhoff, Professor and Head of the Laboratory Immunology and Immunogenetics of Bacterial Infectious Diseases
  • Mariëlle C. Haks, senior researcher
  • Edwin Quinten, senior technician
  • Simone A. Joosten, senior researcher
  • Krista E. van Meijgaarden, senior technician