PhD defence D.P. (Daniël) Hurkmans
- Prof. dr. A.H.J. Mathijssen
- Prof. dr. J.G.J.V. Aerts
On Wednesday 17 March 2021, D.P. Hurkmans will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Personalizing Immunotherapy: Pharmacology and Treatment Selection in Metastatic Cancer’.
With the introduction of the immune checkpoint inhibitors, a novel category of cancer therapy was designed that leads to a cytotoxic immune response against cancer cells. In this PhD thesis, the relationship between pharmacokinetic parameters - such as drug exposure, drug clearance - and efficacy is studied in a real-word setting. A mathematical model was developed to assess the impact of patient factors on the pharmacokinetics of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Furthermore, selection of patients is essential because immune checkpoint inhibitors come with high costs, relatively low response rates and high rates of immune-related adverse events. The research to predict response has yielded various potential biomarkers for NSCLC and melanoma, including peripheral blood cells, soluble blood-based molecules, characteristics of the tumor genome or microenvironment and patient germline genetics. Importantly, patients being treated as standard of care with immunotherapy are not identical to trial patients who are subjected to strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. This thesis is particularly informative for physicians who are often challenged by patients with higher age, comorbidities (including solid organ transplants), advanced progression or worse clinical performance.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.