UZ Leuven examines disease progression of COVID-19 in cancer patients

19 May 2020
UZ Leuven researchers led by prof. dr. An Cooseman, specialist in immunotherapy, are starting a new clinical trial. The trial wants to examine how the immune system reacts when a cancer patients gets the coronavirus. Are treatments just as effective? Does the disease progression change?
Verpleegkundige bekijkt monitor op intensieve COVID-afdeling

Prof. dr. Coosemans: "In these special times the focus is of course on examining the interaction between cancer and the coronavirus, but the trial can also give us useful information on how infections with other viruses can influence cancer treatments."

Our immune system is crucial for the fights against infections and is brought under a lot of pressure in people that were infected with the coronavirus COVID-19. Also in the development and the progression of cancer, the immune system plays an important role. Immunotherapy, which uses your own immune system to attack cancer cells, has been on the rise the last couple of years.

We hope to gain new insights to better inform and comfort patients, and in time improve cancer immunotherapy.
Prof. dr. An Coosemans - immunotherapy specialist

Interaction highly probably

Prof. dr. Coosemans: “There has to be an interaction between existing cancer and an infection with the coronavirus. It is this interaction that we want to map with this trial. We hope to gain new insights to inform and comfort patients better and in time to improve cancer immunotherapy. In these special times the focus is on examining the interaction between cancer and the coronavirus but the trial can also give us useful information about how infections with other viruses, such as hepatitis or the flu virus, can influence cancer treatments.”

More information

The trial has recently been started in UZ Leuven in collaboration with prof. dr. Jan Gunst, prof. dr. Joost Wauters, prof. dr. Evelien Gielen and dr. Kevin Punie. UZ Gent (prof. dr. Katrien Vandecasteele) and UZ Antwerpen (prof. dr. Peter van Dam, prof. dr. Marc Peeters and dr. Christine De Bruyn) will also contribute to this trial.

Last edit: 20 May 2020