How we teach your body to unmask cancer


About the research

Did you know that cancer cells are not so different from our healthy cells? This makes it difficult for T-cells, important immune cells in our body, to recognise and fight cancer cells. Cancer researcher Heleen Hanssens (VUB-FWO) wants to give T-cells a helping hand by equipping them with more sensitive receptors, or antennae, that are pre-programmed to unmask cancer cells. In the lab, she is looking for the perfect form for these CAR antennae, so that they become more stable and better at detecting cancer cells.

Heleen Hanssens

"A critical thinker and passionate communicator" is how Heleen Hanssens is described by those around her - qualities that fit in nicely with her passion for science. This led her to study bioengineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. "As a scientist, I want to make a difference for people who need it. That is how I ended up in applied cancer research". Today, Heleen is working on a PhD on the development of new cell-based anti-cancer therapies that make maximum use of the power of our own bodies.

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