AMSTERDAM, June 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Sanquin) and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI-AVL) as a team are the winners of the 2010 Amsterdam Inventor Award for their inventions addressing T cell Epitope Selection and Monitoring. The winners have been made public at the Amsterdam Inventor Dinner last June 10th.

This is the third consecutive year that innovative researchers are placed in the spot lights by the municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM), the organizers of the event.

The Sixteen participating organization from both industry and the scientific sector presented a total of twenty inventions at the basis for the development of new, innovative products, processes, and/or services of which four were nominated for winning the award. The inventions were judged by an expert jury on innovation, quality of invention, commercial value, societal impact, and entrepreneurship.

About T cell Epitope Selection and Immunomonitoring

A population of white blood cells called T killer cells protects us against invading pathogens and cancer. This group of T cells is markedly diverse, with almost each T cell recognizing a different antigen and thereby being able to selectively kill cells that express this specific antigen. Antigens are small protein fragments of eight to ten residues that are presented on the surface of body cells as a complex with human leucocyte antigen class I (pHLA-I complex). When vaccinating people or infusing T cells we aim to selectively activate or select, or isolate those T cells that that recognize antigen of interest. But how do we design these vaccines and monitor the effect of such vaccines on a T cell level? How do we detect T cells that recognize a virus- or cancer-associated antigen amidst the millions of bystander T cells? Answers to these questions are the missing keys to the anticipated development in the next decade of a significant number of new vaccines and immuno-therapies aimed for effectively preventing or treating infectious diseases and in some cases cancer. The combined knowledge on peptide fragments and T cells as addressed by the new inventions of Sanquin and NKI is instrumental to find these answers.

In a co-operation between the groups of Prof. Dr Ton Schumacher (NKI-AVL), Dr Huib Ovaa (NKI-AVL), and Dr Wim van Esch (Sanquin) two new technologies (patent pending) have been developed comprising: (I) A pHLA Exchange Technology that allows production of thousands of different pHLA-I complexes to be used to visualize killer T cells of interest, (II) A Multiplexed T cell Imaging Technology that allows to simultaneously detection of very many T cell populations in a single patient sample.

The two new technologies are at the basis for the preclinical development of a broadly protective influenza A vaccine in the AmpVacs project. AmpVacs is consortium between Sanquin, NKI-AVL and the Netherlands Vaccine Institute, subsidised by a four years grant from the Center of Translational Medicine. Within ongoing academic research the two technologies have been applied to evaluate killer T cell responses in patients with melanoma and leukaemia.

About Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation

Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (with its headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) is an internationally reputed organization in the field of blood banking and immuno-hematological research. Sanquin has a track record in bringing therapeutic proteins, and in vitro diagnostic and research products to the market and is successfully distributing a substantial product portfolio covering these fields on the international market.

About the Netherlands Cancer Institute

The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), of which Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is patron, consists of a scientific research laboratory and a specialized clinic. Since its foundation in 1913, its primary objective has been to combat cancer by combining patient care, research and education. The staff's ambition is to make a real contribution to solving the problem of cancer thanks to the unique interaction between scientific research and clinical application that is woven into the fabric of the organization.

SOURCE: Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation

CONTACT: Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Ron van Eijk PhD, Businessdevelopment manager, tel.: +31-20-512-3240, e-mail:;Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Mr. Robert Heckert, Manager Communication,Tel.: +31-20-512-3771, e-mail:, the Netherlands CancerInstitute; Ms Danielle Cardozo, Manager Communication, tel.:+31-20-512-2867, e-mail: