Intensifying research on childhood cancer is important for achieving the objectives of the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology and for providing the highest level of care. Scientific research is crucial to increase children's chances of survival and to decrease the late effects of treatment. For these reasons, the Princess Máxima Center will bring together the best possible care and quality scientific research all under one roof. Consequently, both disciplines will strengthen each other for the benefit of children with cancer, both now and in the future.
Our ambition is to be the best scientific research institute for pediatric oncology in Europe. We also want to compete with the leading children's oncology research institutes outside of Europe, such as the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the United States. The new center will be a strong partner for all parties involved in researching new treatments. Bundling expertise also leads to more synergy in research. What's more, a well-equipped pediatric oncological research institute will attract talent from both home and abroad.
It is with good reason that we receive recommendations from a Scientific Advisory Board.
The research program at the Princess Máxima Center includes:
- The full range of basic tumor biology research;
- The entire translational research chain: a molecular research laboratory, clinical patient examinations, and research on the quality of life for post-treatment survivors.
- Early clinical studies for individuals or small groups of patients (Phase 1-2 trials);
- Clinical research involving higher numbers of patients, for which new treatments (via randomization or drawing lots) are compared with standard treatments (Phase 3 trials);
- Psychosocial research;
- Research on supportive treatment (supportive care) for the prevention and treatment of the side effects of cancer therapy;
- Research on the long-term effects of illness and treatment.
The guiding principles for research at the Princess Máxima Center are:
- Research is the best way to ensure that progress is made for the recovery and quality of life of children with cancer.
- The research prioritizes the development of the children and on treating their cancer;
- Patients form not only the objective of the research, they are an integral part of the research;
- The research comes to the patient;
- The research is multidisciplinary;
- Clear procedures guarantee excellent communication between researchers and patients and between the various research disciplines.
We base our vision for scientific research on the following pillars:
- Scientific research is vital to improving survival rates and quality of care (including supportive care, late effects, and palliative care);
- Scientific understanding of the basic tumor biology processes of childhood cancer form the basis for translational (from the laboratory to the patient) research;
- Concentrating all patients at one center brings with it great benefits for translational research (e.g., the availability of tumor tissue and constitutional material);
- Bundling laboratory researchers, clinicians, statisticians, methodologists, and the trial office together at one center to support scientific clinical research promotes higher quality translational research;
- Gathering all patient examinations under one roof provides better opportunities for clinical and translational research;
- Scientific clinical research conducted at a national center is of higher quality;
- Creating the best trial office and accompanying data center in Europe will allow the Princess Máxima Center to be a leader in both sponsorship and European research;
- The international reputation of the Princess Máxima Center will attract top researchers from home and abroad;
- The Princess Máxima Center serves as a strong partner for the pharmaceutical and medical industries, offering great opportunities for the advancement of knowledge development.
At the Princess Máxima Center, patient-related research is carried out at one of three care units: the research and the researchers literally join patients at their bedside. Pre-clinical research on patients' materials and in model systems will be conducted at the Molecular Medicine Institute (MMI), which is physically housed in the Princess Máxima Center.
A suitable infrastructure will be set up to facilitate scientific research. This will include:
- Physicalresearch facilities in the care units;
- Structural tissue storage;
- Animal testing facilities;
- A trial office to support scientific clinical research;
- Medical ethics procedures and sponsor facilities.
Some of these facilities will be shared with research groups at the main partner institutes of the Princess Máxima Center: the UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), and the Hubrecht Institute.