Vanden Berghe team: FAIR lab

Research Field: Ferroptosis And Inflammation Research (FAIR)

Team leader: Prof. Dr. Tom Vanden Berghe

Tel: +32 3 265 92 50 - M: +32 486 18 47 27

Group leader of Pathophysiology lab at University of Antwerp

Research topic

Unprotected iron can rust due to the attack of oxygen. Similarly, in our body, oxidative stress can kill cells in an iron-dependent way, which can give raise to organ injury or degeneration. This newly discovered type of cell injury or necrosis is referred to as ferroptosis. The study of how this type of cell death works at the molecular levels gains a lot of interest, due to its assumed high clinical relevance. On the one hand, our research focusses on using ferroptosis or ‘biological rust’ to eradicate cancer such as neuroblastoma using nanomedicinal approaches. On the other hand, blocking ferroptosis using small compounds is intensively investigated in an attempt to interfere with e.g. acute organ failure in intensive care patients or patients with chronic degenerative diseases. This work is imbedded in an interdisciplinary approach and occurs in collaboration with experts and physicians in the field.

Areas of expertise

  1. Experimental focus 'Role of ferroptosis and inflammation in disease':
    1. Study role of cell death in organ failure and septic shock
    2. Study role of ferroptosis in multiple sclerosis
    3. Study molecular mechanisms of ferroptosis
    4. Study nanomedicinal ferroptosis targeting in therapy-resistant cancers
  2. Focus in humans 'Precision Medicine in critically ill patients':
    1. Patient stratification through novel molecular diagnostics in inflammation and cell death
    2. Innovative treatments upon patient stratification

Technology transfer potential

  1. Targeting of Interleukin-1 and -18 in treatment of septic shock (GB 1400997.1)
    1. Setup non-interventional diagnostic studies @ICU UZGhent (~400 patients, 2014-2017)
  2. Compounds for inhibiting cell death (GB 1420235.2)
  3. Third generation of ferrostatins (GB 1801943.0)

Recent publications

  1. Hassannia, B. et al. Nano-targeted induction of dual ferroptotic mechanisms eradicates high-risk neuroblastoma.
    The Journal of Clinical Investigation 128, 3341–3355, 2018.
  2. Devisscher, L. et al. Discovery of Novel, Drug-like Ferroptosis Inhibitors with In Vivo Efficacy.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 61, 10126–10140, 2018.
  3. Vanden Berghe, T. et al. Passenger Mutations Confound Interpretation of All Genetically Modified Congenic Mice.
    Immunity 43, 200–209, 2015.
  4. Vanden Berghe, T., Linkermann, A., Jouan-Lanhouet, S., Walczak, H. & Vandenabeele, P. Regulated necrosis: the expanding network of non-apoptotic cell death pathways.
    Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology, 15, 135–147, 2014.
  5. Vanden Berghe, T. et al. Simultaneous targeting of IL-1 and IL-18 is required for protection against inflammatory and septic shock.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 189, 282–291, 2014.

Public outreach

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