LEH is known to be a strong multidisciplinary translational research group holding a national and international track record in the field of dendritic cell-based immunotherapy, gene therapy and stem cell biology. The in-house developed mRNA gene transfer technology has been patented (PCT/EP02/006897) and non-exclusive licenses have been given to ARGOS (USA) and CIMAAS (The Netherlands). LEH also provides expert advice, assistance and GLP immunomonitoring and flow cytometry services in clinical vaccine trials performed by the CEV.
Cell-based immunotherapy as future answer to cancer is one of the long-term goals of LEH (Anguille et al, Lancet Oncol 2014). In 2005, profs Van Tendeloo and Berneman founded the Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CCRG) to conduct clinical cellular immunotherapy trials (phase I-II) in the field of cancer (leukemia, glioblastoma, mesothelioma) (Van Tendeloo et al, PNAS 2010; Anguille et al, Blood 2017) and infectious diseases (Van Gulck et al, AIDS 2012). In 2015, CCRG at the Antwerp University Hospital became the first academic organization in Belgium to obtain a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification from the Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AFMPS/FAGG/FAMPS), as well as a production license for dendritic cells. We are thus not only equipped to perform basic, clinical and translational research, but we have also mastered the regulatory expertise to be able to perform clinical studies with cultured cell products, which are considered as advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP) – and thus as medicinal drugs – by European and Belgian legislation.