Each year, the graduate school Cancer, Stem cells and Developmental biology gives an award to the PhD student with the best publication of that year. Today, the award was given to Jurrian de Kanter from our group for his two publications on the damaging effects of treatment in children with cancer.
The publications, entitled “Antiviral treatment causes a unique mutational signature in cancers of transplantation recipients” published in Cell Stem Cell on October 7 2021 and “Elevated mutational age in blood of children treated for cancer contributes to therapy related myeloid neoplasms” published in Cancer Discovery on 2022 Jun 9 describe that although the survival of children with cancer has increased tremendously during the last decades, childhood cancer survivors are confronted with chronic health issues later in life. Nonetheless, very little research is done into the molecular mechanisms underlying late effects in childhood cancer survivors. Together with his colleagues, Jurrian has pioneered research into this area using single cell genome sequencing.
In the first paper, published in Cell Stem Cell, Jurrian and colleagues showed that some antiviral drugs we give children that are treated for cancer are highly mutagenic and carcinogenic later in life. He also demonstrates that other, similarly effective drugs, is not, providing an alternative, safer treatment. In the second paper, published in Cancer Discovery, Jurrian and colleagues described the damaging effects of chemotherapy in children treated for cancer in normal blood. He showed that thehematopoietic stem cells of these patients display “molecular aging” during treatment,which may underlie the premature aging phenotypes observed in these children.