Our dreams in a row​

Hans Zaaijer Medical Microbiologist

Saving lives with Big Data

“My dream? Protecting the Netherlands from known and unknown viruses. We have an increasingly better understanding of what happens in the body, up to the molecular level. For example thanks to antibodies research. This way we can adjust impetuous, weak, or false immune responses. With the support of Blood For Life, we can develop our knowledge and technology even further.”

Eszter Varga Postdoc researcher

Customized blood for everyone

“My dream? In 20 years, all patients will receive blood transfusions with lab-grown red blood cells. Each drop is exactly matched to the recipient’s blood group so that no immune response can occur.”

Daphne Thijssen Directeur Sanquin Bloodbank

Curing people indefinitely

“My dream? Within 20 years, patients with congenital blood diseases will be cured by gene therapy. They are then given their own repaired stem cells. That way, they are able to produce healthy blood themselves so that they are no longer dependent on regular blood transfusions.”

Gerald de Haan Director Sanquin Research

Treat cancer with blood

“My dream? Treating cancer patients with the body’s own blood cells, effectively and without side effects. By training the body’s own blood cells to become soldiers and then injecting them back into the body, where they attack the tumor. Our research is focused on discoveries and the application of these new capabilities.”

Saving lives with Big Data

Hundreds of thousands of people regularly donate blood at Sanquin blood bank. Sanquin keeps track of a lot of donation data – in a secured way of course. This data provides valuable insights . For example we were able to monitor how immunity developed during the corona pandemic.
But large-scale analysis of blood can also enable that we identify new or emerging diseases at an early stage, so that action can be taken quickly and we can avoid expensive treatments or extra pressure on healthcare. Sanquin researchers are therefore eager to expand this research further in the coming years

Cultured blood from the lab

Some patients regularly need blood transfusions. But the more often someone receives blood
from another person, the bigger the chance that at some point it will be rejected by the
immune system. As a result, these people cannot be helped. But there is hope. Sanquin
researchers have succeeded in culturing blood in the lab. This breakthrough makes it possible to
create blood for patients that no longer differs? from their own blood. Completely customized!
Currently, only small amounts of cultured blood can be produced. In order to be able to safely
produce cultured blood on a larger scale, we need a small-sized bioreactor in which we can test
how we can grow red blood cells as efficiently as possible.

Repairing damaged cells at DNA level

Some patients suffer from a hereditary condition that seriously disrupts the production of blood cells. Sanquin researchers are developing technologies that can repair genetic defects in bloodforming stem cells. After returning their repaired stem cells, these patients will be able to make healthy blood on their own, so that they are no longer dependent on regular bloodtransfusions.
The technology needed to correct the genetic error in the DNA of these patients is complex. A lot of research is still needed, which we can start with the support of third parties. That would be fantastic. Because it would be more than groundbreaking if we can realize this dream.

Treating cancer patients with
their own blood cells

Immune cells can precisely recognize and kill cancer cells. These immune cells are often found in tumors, but they fail to break down those tumors. Or they become exhausted prematurely. But spectacular results have been achieved in recent years. By growing immune cells in the lab and then injecting them into the patient, the tumor disappeared in some of the cases with a hitherto untreatable form of cancer.
Many new insights have thus been obtained that can help us to increase the effectiveness of these cell therapies against cancer. Sanquin researchers want to develop methods that allow the cultured immune cells to function properly in the tumors and not become exhausted.