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Allogeneic Transplantation and Immunotherapy: From Bench to Bedside


Admission requirements

  • Sufficient knowledge of Immunology is required (comparable to the Immunology course in the BSc Biomedical Sciences Leiden).

  • Successful completion of How To Write A Research Proposal is strongly recommended.

  • Students who passed the half minor Immunotherapy of Cancer in BSc, are discouraged to follow the FOS course.


Period: 25 October 2021 - 19 November 2021

The course will give detailed insight into clinical and research aspects of allogeneic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy to treat leukemia and other hematological malignancies. In allogeneic stem cell transplantation, the patient is transplanted with an immune system from a healthy donor with the aim to induce an effective immune response against the tumor cells. The tumor cells of the patient are foreign to the donor derived immune system and will be attacked. Unfortunately, the tumor cells are not the only foreign cells. Healthy tissues of the patient are often also targeted, which may lead to severe side effects and a life threatening complication known as Graft-versus-Host Disease. Inducing an optimal balance between desired anti-tumor immunity and undesired side effects is relevant to improve overall survival and quality of life of patients with leukemia or other hematological malignancies after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

Students will be introduced into different aspects by lectures given by experts in the field followed by self-study assignments, which will be discussed in workgroups by team-based learning. Students will be trained in critical reading of recently published research papers and will practice in oral presentations and participation in discussions. Students will attend patient demonstrations, visit the outpatient clinic as well as diagnostic and research laboratories of the department of Hematology. Students will write a newspaper article, present a scientific paper and write small reports on the experiments performed in the diagnostic and research laboratories. The course will be finished with a written exam consisting of a number of insight questions on working mechanisms of allogeneic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy.

Students will be introduced into the following aspects of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy:

  • Normal hematopoiesis, leukemia and other hematological malignancies and their treatment modalities.

  • Transplantation of a patient with an immune system from a healthy donor (allo-immunity); the desired anti-tumor effect and undesired complications known as graft versus host disease.

  • Use and manipulation of donor T lymphocytes to treat leukemia and other hematological malignancies in transplanted patients.

  • Donor T lymphocytes recognizing antigens in transplanted patients (allo-reactive T cells); characterization of allo-reactive T cells and their HLA-binding targets.

  • Interactions between leukemic cells and the immune system, donor selection and graft versus host disease.

  • Therapeutic antibodies to treat leukemia and other hematological malignancies in transplanted patients.

  • Production and use of cellular therapy to treat leukemia and other hematological malignancies.

  • Gene therapy with chimeric antigen receptors and T cell receptors as cellular anti-tumor therapy.

This course will particularly work on:

Research competences:
defining a research question, study-design, choice of appropriate techniques, integration of different biomedical disciplines, knowledge of literature and methods, interpretation of results.
Professional competences:
team-work; participation in discussions; use of language; clarity, consistency and transparency in presentations; knowledge of literature and application of this knowledge, developing creativity by combining different perspectives.

Course objectives

  • Collect and analyze relevant data for diagnosis of leukemia

  • Consider benefits and threats of different treatment protocols for allogeneic stem cell transplantation and donor lymphocyte infusion

  • Explain the basic concepts of allogeneic stem cell transplantation as treatment modality for hematological malignancies

  • Relate the type of antigens and immunological responses as exploited by immunotherapy to evaluate clinical benefits and threats after allogeneic stem cell transplantation

  • Compare different immunotherapies, evaluate their (potential) benefits and threats and propose improvements

  • Translate the main message of a novel immunotherapy to a lay audience in the form of a newspaper article


All course and group schedules are published on our LUMC scheduling website: or on the LUMC scheduling app.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study assignments, work-groups.

Assessment method

Summative assessment:

  • Oral presentation

  • Newspaper article

  • Written exam

The exam dates can be found on the schedule website.

Reading list

Will be distributed during the course.


Registration for FOS courses, H2W, Scientific Conduct, Course on Lab Animal Sciences and CRiP takes place in lottery rounds in the beginning of July. After the lottery rounds: if you want to register for a course you are kindly asked to contact the student administration at