An effective immune system is crucial to protect us against infections and tumors, and to prevent autoimmune diseases. Dendritic cells are a special type of immune cells that are central to this process. The overarching goal of this thesis is to understand the features, functions, and development of a recently discovered type of dendritic cells, called type 3. This knowledge could help improve immune therapies in the future. The study of these cells in cancer and arthritis patients reveals how they are influenced by substances from the tumor and inflamed joints. The type 3 dendritic cells suppress the immune response in cancer and stimulate it in arthritis, which is disadvantageous for the patient in both situations. Together, this research shows that type 3 dendritic cells play an important role in both cancer and autoimmunity and elucidates how these cells arise and are influenced by their environment.
Anouk obtained her master’s degree Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, cum laude, at the Radboud University in 2018. During her master she was awarded a PhD grant by the Radboudumc, which allowed her to start her doctoral studies at the Tumor Immunology department (Radboudumc). Anouk will continue as postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Professor Villadangos in Melbourne.