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Fighting diseases

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The medical field already has made great progress, but regrettably some diseases still form a deadly mystery.  Mysteries such as cancer, diabetes and liver disease are frequent causes of death today still. The research group in this cluster aims to better understand the causes of diseases nowadays hoping to find the key to a better diagnoses, treatment and maybe even a cure.

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy

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Molecular Imaging

Cancer cells come with very specific characteristics. At the ICMI Lab, probes are made which, once injected into the body, identify and latch onto cancer cells. The probes consist of radioactive isotopes that are linked to nanobodies. Nanobodies are unique antibody fragments of camels that are developed at the VUB's Cellular and Molecular Immunology Lab. The radiation of the radioactive decay of the isotopes is visualised by way of a SPECT scan.

Modern Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a locoregional form of cancer therapy whereby ionising radiation is used to destroy the cancer cells. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel's  Radiotherapy Research group is on a constant quest to find efficient alternative radiotherapy strategies to be able to offer patient-specific radiotherapy treatments. 


The Organic Chemistry research group modifies peptides in such a way that they can be used as tracers in molecular imaging. In close collaboration with the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging (ICMI) research group, which is headed by Prof. Caveliers, they set out to adapt this type of probes and test them in vivo. 

Resistance Mechanism of bone marrow cancer Multiple Myeloma (MM)

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Immunotherapy: a powerful new treatment for cancer

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The frontline of our bodies

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Regenerative therapy for diabetes

diabetesAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 347 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes, a chronic disease typified by high blood sugar or glucose levels. Diabetes is incurable and in due course may cause serious complications such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney problems, eye diseases and lesions to the nervous system.


More content coming soon.

Liver Disease

Improved diagnosis and treatment of liver disorders

liver diseaseLiver disease is the fifth most common cause of death around the world. A liver transplant is often the only efficient therapy, but there is a paucity of organs available for transplants. As such, the world of medicine is vigorously exploring therapies to tackle liver diseases.

Toxicity in the Liver

Liver cells are the central place where medicines are processed. As such, they are particularly sensitive to the toxicity which comes with some of these medicines. As a result, some medicines need to be taken off the shelves or fail to be released on the market in spite of a lot of research efforts having gone into developing them. Or worse still, people are seen to die of liver failure after taking certain medicines to excess. The In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology research group is seeking to address these problems by resorting to human stem cells. 

Developement and design of medicine using structural biology

The building blocks of our bodies

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Unstructured proteins

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Better understanding cell switches

We all know switches turn devices on and off. What is less widely known is that also cells have switches that are able to activate or deactivate certain processes. But in the same way as electric wiring circuits can be tangled and labyrinthine, in a lot of cases we do not know exactly how the wiring of the cell fits together. The Structural Biology Brussels (SBB) research group is keen to get a better understanding of these cell switches: not just the switches in themselves, but also the mechanisms and networks that are involved in activating and deactivating them.

Inside the Skin of Bacteria

Each day our body is made to deal with bacteria, good and bad. To many bacteria our skin or our digestive system, to name but two, are the perfect living environment to live in alongside the host. They are seen to live in “commensalism”, meaning in a symbiotic relationship, often even deriving a shared mutual benefit for the bacterium and the human body alike. Pathogenic bacteria on the other hand, i.e. bacteria that cause disease, engage in over-exploitation practices and cause serious, and even life-threatening damage to human tissue.

Research at the VUB

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