PhD student – SIOPE DIPG Registry

Van Vuurden Research Group - Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) are largely fatal, rare brainstem tumors in children that need innovation in treatment. To enable research, a multinational, multi-institutional DIPG Registry was established. This SIOPE DIPG Registry allows for the study of multiple research questions that will be addressed in this PhD project.

The project

Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (brainstem cancer, DIPG) are highly fatal, rare brain tumors that are mostly diagnosed in children around the age of 6-7 for which in recent decades no significant breakthroughs in therapy have been accomplished. Most patients die within the first year after diagnosis. Multiple trials in multiple countries investigated different chemotherapeutics and novel drugs in these patients, but due to the rarity of the disease, these are hampered by small patient numbers and heterogeneous patient inclusion, which makes it impossible to discern possible effective treatment elements.

The team at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology has established, together with the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOPE) a multinational DIPG Registry (led by Dr. Dannis van Vuurden and dr. Sophie Veldhuijzen Van Zanten) with a growing number of multidimensional, pseudonymised / coded data from DIPG patients from 33 countries to overcome this lack of knowledge. The Registry currently contains retrospective data from more than 700 children in Europe and beyond and prospective data of a growing number (>90) of patients. Data consist of MRI images, clinical features (history, symptoms, physical examination), treatment and outcome data, as well as biological data from tumor biopsies taken at diagnosis and/or from autopsies. In the near future, the registry will be extended with real-time quality of life (QoL) data during treatment and in the terminal phase of life of these patients.

In a close partnership with the executive committee of the high-grade glioma and DIPG working gropu of SIOPE several research questions have been developed to study, using the data of this patient cohort.

Your challenge

The aim of current PhD project is to actively participate in the continuation of prospective data registration, to actively participate in the recruitment of new countries to expand the data collection, and mainly to conduct the research that comes forward from the SIOPE DIPG Network meetings. These projects will make use of data included in the European DIPG Registry and when applicable data from the International DIPG Registry. As a PhD student, focusing on the multidimensional data from the SIOPE DIPG Registry, you will study therapeutic aspects (radiotherapy, combinational radiochemotherapy, re-irradiation, immunotherapy), diagnostic characteristics (radiology related to biology, rare histopathological entities, infrequently occuring mutations (IDH1/2, BRAF), as well as parent/patient-related aspects such as the willingness to enter early phase clinical trials, including treatments abroad (‘medical tourism’).

You will work in close collaboration with physicians, postdocs and other PhD students within the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology and with international collaborators from the SIOPE DIPG Network and will travel abroad to meet and collaborate with partners in the network.

You will remain up to date with respect to new developments in the field and will publish and present your own research in peer-reviewed journals and at national and/or international conferences.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated researcher with:

  • A MSc degree in medicine, medical biology, epidemiology or a related field;
  • A natural level of scientific thinking, a can-do mentality, a strong drive for a career in science, an inquisitive, creative mind, and who are curious and eager to learn;
  • Although a level of independence is expected, you should be motivated to work in a multidisciplinary team and should show a ‘teamwork mindset’;
Team and Supervisors

Professor Eelco Hoving, MD, PhD, is a pediatric neurosurgeon and Head of the department of Neuro-Oncology of the Princess Máxima Center. As a promotor, he is involved in multiple clinical and preclinical research projects.

Dr. Dannis van Vuurden, MD, PhD, is a pediatric oncologist and principal investigator in the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. He treats children with brain tumors and is Chair of the SIOPE DIPG Registry. His research focuses on characterization and innovation of treatment for high-grade glioma and DIPG.

Dr. Sophie Veldhuijzen van Zanten, MD, PhD, is a radiologist in training and Research Coordinator of the SIOPE DIPG Registry. Her previous research and PhD project and thesis focused on the setup and study of data from the Registry.

We offer

We offer a PhD project in an inspiring and inter-disciplinary research environment. The total duration of the project is 4 years (full-time). You will initially be appointed for a period of 1 year, and your performance will be evaluated by a training and supervision plan.

The project will mainly take place at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, as well as at institutions collaborating in the SIOPE DIPG Network, if neccesary.

Salary according to FWG 45 increment 6 (for the 1st year, increased to FWG 45 increment 10 in case of renewal). The Princess Máxima Center operates according to the collective labor agreement ‘cao algemene ziekenhuizen’.

Contact and application:

You can apply for this position until May 31st by pressing the apply button on this screen.

We welcome you to contact dr. Dannis van Vuurden, via telephone number: +31(0)88 9727272
for additional information about the vacancy.

Detailed information about the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology can also be found at

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

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