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									Fund of Friends for Cancer Research in Leuven
‘Prevention, treatment and study of gynaecological, breastand gastrointestinal cancer as well as improvement in the quality of life of patients suffering from these diseases is our mission.’

Dear Friends, Cancer is an increasing threat to every human being. Cancer research is one of the main focuses of research performed at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the University Hospitals Leuven. The recognition and appreciation of the efforts and dedication of my colleagues working in this area, led to the foundation, in March 2008, of the 'Fund of Friends for Cancer Research in Leuven'. The fund promotes cancer research in Leuven and more specifically the prevention and treatment of patients struck with gynaecological, breast and digestive cancers. Special attention is also given to projects directed to improve the quality of life of these patients. The fund not only supports laboratory research but also clinical cancer research led by experts in the field in Leuven. I am more than confident that your support of the Fund of Friends for Cancer Research in Leuven will undoubtedly be used in the best possible way.

Gynaecological and breast cancer research
Prof Dr Ignace Vergote, Head of the Division of Gynaecological Oncology The division of Gynaecological Oncology of the University Hospitals Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is on the frontier of gynaecological cancer research in the world. The last decade, the department has been the largest centre in Europe accruing patients in the Gynaecological Cancer Group of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC-GCG). Prof Vergote is the past Chairman of the EORTC-GCG, past-President of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology and currently the President of the International Gynaecological Cancer Society. The department has not only investigated new systemic therapy (chemotherapy, molecular targeted therapy, hormonal therapy, …) but has also developed new surgical and radiotherapeutical treatment modalities. In addition to these achievements, the department of Gynaecological Oncology has an active laboratory for translational research in gynaecological and breast cancer. Its research focuses on early diagnosis and screening of asymptomatic women for gynaecological and breast cancer. In this respect several studies have been performed investigating the role of genes (or a gene pattern) in predicting who will develop cancer but also in predicting in patients with cancer, which patients will relapse.

Prof Raf Verstraeten Chairman Fund of Friends for Cancer Research in Leuven

Not only genes have been investigated but also their products e.g. proteins. Proteomic analyses have been performed recently in tumors, in blood and in the cystic fluid of the tumors. Several new proteins are being investigated as tumor markers and predictive factors. In the future these proteins might enable us to diagnose a cancer in asymptomatic women long before the tumor can be seen or palpated. Other proteins are investigated as predictors of relapse or response to the specific currently available therapies. Several new promising molecular targeted agents are being explored in the laboratory. In the department there is not only attention for scientific research but also for the Quality of Life of patients struck with gynaecological or breast cancer. Special programs with psychological, social and physiotherapeutic support of the patients have been organised and are planned to be increased.

New drugs, new therapeutic and new diagnostic options for patients with tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, including colorectal, gastric, oesophageal, pancreatic, hepatobiliary and rare abdominal tumours, such as the neuroendocrine tumours are evaluated. The department is active in a wide range of national and international collaboration: the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer (EORTC)-Gastrointestinal Cancer Group (chairmanship 2003-2007), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and International Digestive Cancer Alliance. The department has a wide range of research activities: clinical research on new treatment options (new drugs and more optimal combined treatment options: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery); translational research looking for genes or proteins that may help for more optimal prediction of the benefit of an antitumoural treatment; a research for hereditary gastrointestinal cancers; on screening strategies for gastrointestinal cancers; on quality of life aspects in the management of patients with gastrointestinal cancers and on new diagnostic modalities including MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) scan.

Gastrointestinal Cancer Research
Prof Dr Eric Van Cutsem, Head of the Division of Digestive Oncology The department of Digestive Oncology of the University Hospitals Leuven, is recognized worldwidely as a leading group in the management of patients with gastrointestinal cancer. The multidisciplinary clinical expertise and the research knowledge on new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches lead to the best possible treatment for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. The department focuses also on clinical research and on translational research.

For more information contact:
Leuvens Universiteitsfonds Partnership & Academic Development Minderbroedersstraat 5 BE-3000 Leuven Phone: + 32 16 32 41 44 Fax: + 32 16 32 37 40 Email:

• Prof J. Kips, Director University Hospitals Leuven • Prof Dr M. Boogaerts, Chair Cancer Institute Leuven; Professor at the Hematology section University Hospitals Leuven • Prof Dr E. Van Cutsem, Head of the division of Digestive Oncology University Hospitals Leuven • Prof Dr I. Vergote, Head of the division of Gynaecological Oncology University Hospitals Leuven

Editing: Isabel Penne, Evelyne Sauvage With thanks to: Prof Dr E. Van Cutsem, Prof Dr I. Vergote, Prof R. Verstraeten Pictures: Rob Stevens, UZ Leuven Leuven, January 2008

Members of the board:
• Prof R. Verstraeten, Chairman; Professor at the Institute of Penal Law and Criminology Katholieke Universiteit Leuven • Mr Nishit M. Parikh, Assistant Chairman; Director Diarough, a leading diamond firm in Antwerp • Mr E. Gevers, Secretary; lawyer at Antaxius, a leading Antwerp law firm • Prof M. Waer, Vice-Rector Biomedical Sciences Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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