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van Rheenen group

Cancer biophysics

Complication of metastasis, the process in which cells detach from the primary tumor to form new distant tumor sites, is the primary reason why patients die from cancer. The metastatic behavior of tumor cells is highly dependent on the cell’s intrinsic characteristics and on the tumor microenvironment, such as stromal cells and the extracellular matrix. We study both by combining conditional mouse models that recapitulate human tumors and intravital imaging techniques (high resolution imaging of metastasis in living animals in real time). By these experiments we hope to indentify new drug targets that combined with current clinical approaches may lead to new therapies.

About the research
About the group


"Kijken naar kanker" - Spying on cancer!
This movie by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute, visualizes malicious cancer cells during their journey

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Selected recent key publications

Ellenbroek SI, van Rheenen J. (2014) Imaging hallmarks of cancer in living mice. Nature Reviews Cancer, 14(6): 406-18

Ritsma L*, Ellenbroek SI*, Zomer A, Snippert HJ, de Sauvage FJ, Simons BD, Clevers H, van Rheenen J, (2014) Intestinal crypt homeostasis revealed at single-stem-cell level by in vivo live imaging. Nature, 507(7492): 362-5

Ritsma L, Vrisekoop N, van Rheenen (2013) In vivo imaging and histochemistry are combined in the cryosection labelling and intravital microscopy technique. Nat Commun., 4:2366

Ritsma, L.*, Steller, E.J.A.*, Beerling, E., Loomans, C.J.M., Zomer, A., Gerlach, C., Vrisekoop, N., Seinstra, D., van Gurp, L., Schäfer, R., Raats, D.A., de Graaff, A. Schumacher, T.N., de Koning, E.J.P. Borel Rinkes, I.H., Kranenburg, O. van Rheenen, J. (2012) Intravital Microscopy Through an Abdominal Imaging Window Reveals a Pre-Micrometastasis Stage During Liver Metastasis. Sci Transl Med 4, 158ra145.

Jalink K, van Rheenen, J (2010) Nano-imaging of membrane topography affects interpretations in cell biology. Nat. Meth. 7:486.

Snippert HJ, van der Vlier LG, Sato T, van Es JH, van der Born M, Kroen-Veenboer C, Barker N, Klein AM, van Rheenen J, Simons BD, Clevers H. (2010) Intestinal crypt homeostasis results from neutral competition between symmetrically dividing Lgr5 stem cells, Cell, 143(1): 134-144.


Publication list