Project: Development of novel strategies to mitigate cardio-toxicity and heart failure

Host organisation: University of Antwerp, Belgium

Supervisor: Prof. Vincent Segers

Brief biography: Hello, my name is Benji van Berlo and I am the PhD-student for the ESR13 position within INSPIRE. I am from the Netherlands and I will conduct my PhD at the University of Antwerpen. During my time as a PhD-student within the INSPIRE project, I will focus on the shared molecular biology between heart failure (HF) and cancer. Cardio-oncology is an upcoming field with increasing evidence suggesting a causal link between cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancer. This means that people with a pre-existing CVD might have an increased risk for developing cancer or cancer patients with a pre-existing CVD might have increased tumour progression. Currently, the shared pathogenic markers between these two disease entities are unknown and still have to be unraveled.

Specifically, we aim to answer the question if secretion of endothelial growth factors in heart failure enhances colon and breast cancer tumour growth. This project is particularly relevant given that several endothelial-derived factors are considered as potential treatment for heart failure. Hence in the upcoming years of my PhD I will contribute to safety pharmacology.