Maastricht University

The Dutch programme National Wetenschapsagenda: Onderzoek op Routes door Consortia (NWA-ORC) stimulates research and innovation to get closer to social and scientific breakthroughs. One such research project that has received this prestigious grant is that of Prof. Dr. Marjolein Smidt of Maastricht University.

Optimal survival and quality of life after colorectal cancer

It is often impossible to predict in advance how patients will react to chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. The goal of chemotherapy as a method of treatment is to gain survival with a good quality of life. Unfortunately, this treatment does not always produce the desired results: in approximately 30% to 40% of cases, there is no obvious gain in terms of survival and a similar percentage experience serious side effects such as fever and diarrhoea, usually resulting in hospitalisation. All in all, chemotherapy has a major negative impact on the quality of life of the patients.

The consortium: OPTIMA

The OPTIMA consortium brings together various organisations, including university hospitals, private parties, patient organisations and universities of applied sciences, who all share the same goal: optimal survival and quality of life after colorectal cancer. Research leader Prof. Dr. Marjolein Smidt, together with the OPTIMA consortium, will investigate ways of predicting whether someone will benefit from this form of chemotherapy. The research will look into which factors play a role in optimising the treatment, for example the dosage.

Researchers will research three elements specifically: genetic characteristics of a patient, whether the tumour is sensitive to the drug irinotecan and an analysis of poop bacteria to determine whether people are at risk of diarrhoea as a side effect. The ultimate goal of the entire study is less treatment with better results; a treatment that guarantees both a better chance of survival and a better quality of life.

OPTIMA receives NWA-ORC grant

The consortium has been awarded an impressive NWA-ORC grant. This will allow the research to continue and will ultimately lead to the development of a better treatment method for colorectal cancer. Hezelburcht took care of and submitted the NWA-ORC grant application for Prof. Marjolein Smidt and the consortium. We wish the entire consortium success with the continuation of the research!

The cooperation with Hezelburcht was particularly complementary. I don’t think we would have reached the finish without them. Not because of a lack of content or consortium, but simply because they “speak the language of the application”, so to speak! - Prof. Dr. Marjolein Smidt

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