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Cellular therapies


Admission requirements

Students can enroll for a half minor if they have obtained 60 credits from the first year.

International Students should have an adequate background in Medicine. Admission will be considered based on CV and motivation letter.
For more information, please contact


The minor ‘’Cellular Therapies’’ will answer the following questions:
Why are blood transfusions and pregnancies usually well accepted by the patient’s immunesystem? Why in contrast is rejection of hematopoietic stem cells and organ transplants a very real danger ? How can called alloimmunisation, graft versus host disease or rejection be prevented e.g. by donor selection or treated. In summary, how is our immunesystem enabled to make choices between attacking or accepting cells, tissue or organs ?
What defines a stem cell, what different kinds are there? How can stem cells be used now and in the future and what would be reasonable time lines for their high promise? What medical – ethical, financial but moreover safety caveats need to be discerned and are there solutions?
How are autoimmune diseases (such as diabetes type 1, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease) explained and what therapies could be effective? What are the possible pro´s and con´s (risks) of the classical versus the new tolerogenic cell therapies

How in contrast can insufficient immunity like in cancer or chronic viral infections be treated ? What are nowadays and possible future developments in immune-activating cell therapies and how do they compare with classical therapies to treat cancer and infections?
What do different stakeholders: patient, physician, donor, scientist, regulatory board member, expect new cellular therapies to be ? What can we learn from animal models; do we need to know the full therapeutic mechanism and what do we need to monitor in patients ?

Course Objectives

  1. Analyse the symptoms and pathophysiologic mechanisms of low, deficient or dysfunctional blood and immune cells with history taking and diagnostics

  2. Describe current therapies for patients who have cancer, persistent infections, bleeding, autoimmune disease, transplant rejection or disorders in pregnancy or labour and indicate why and when new cell therapies are needed and which research is still needed

  3. Identify risks of therapies and design quality system components that safeguards optimal safety in donor assessment, production and clinical study design of cell therapies

  4. Explain and Compare the critical phases in the development of existing therapies and their remaining problems (Clinical time line ) with new cell therapies (Translational time line) and or envision the most likely development of the latter and what is needed to stimulate this development

  5. Teach and educate fellow students on the issues of the course in an interactive and responsive way

  6. Discern faults and omissions in a cell therapy study proposal; be able to generate improvements

  7. Interview patients and scientist physicians on their view of their disease of interest, the current treatment, the remaining needs and how cell therapies could help

  8. Collaborate with fellow students to yield original and synergistic results in assignments and practices

  9. Write a paper and prepare presentations


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

Mode of instruction

Lectures, workgroups, patient and therapy oriented ZSO’s, matrix assessment, paper and pitch presentation and MOOC, Exam. The assessment criteria for these assignments are described in a Rubik format, which is included in the module book.

Course load

Total course load is the amount of EC’s multiplied with 28 hours.

Assessment method

Matrix assessment: Evaluation on general subjects occurs twice in the ½ minor namely as matrix assessment and as final exam. The matrix assessment in week 3: A written exam of max two hours consisting of open questions on general subjects dealt with in weeks 1-3 e.g. on a clinical time line matrix: meaning the time line which deals with the development of evidence-based treatments such as transfusions or HSCT. The clinical time line involves subjects as: donor-patient match, production and administration safety, clinical effect and side effect monitoring. Answers on the open questions will be assessed on the basis of model answers and individual feedback is given plenary or in small groups of students by at least 2 teachers of whom at least one is involved in the themes in week 1-3.

In the so called ‘’improvement of a study proposal for a new cell therapy“ in week 9 ( a ZSO) of max one-hour, general subjects will be questioned again. The aim is to have an assessment steered progress of students throughout the minor. These two assessments on general subjects will aid in assessing the progress (or deficiencies) of students throughout the minor and specifically also prepare for the final exam in week 10. The matrix assessment grade will form 10% of the total minor grade.

Patient and therapy oriented ZSO: Individual students up to small groups of maximal 3 students, will receive a patient case/ disease or a problem concerning a cell therapy with often pre-stated questions as assignment. From this, students need to prepare a 10-15’ presentation (max 10 ppt slides) per student or another form that can be individually scored (like a short-written product in week 6). The presentation will be followed by a 5-10 min discussion/debate. Two to fourt scientific articles on the mentioned subjects can also or additionally be provided by the teachers. These articles will be complementary and not overlapping. In this way, the students have to integrate the views in these articles or make a choice between these views on the given problem. The form of presentation needs to enable individual scoring (like a specific per student tackled part of the short-written product per student or presentation).

Paper, pitch presentation and MOOC: On the basis of the subjects which will be dealt with in the ½ minor, two (max 3) students team up and design with a tutor a set of research questions to be investigated in a research project proposal or in a clinical study protocol. The subjects for this project proposal or clinical trial will be presented will be presented so that a choice can be made after the third week of the minor. The project proposal or clinical study protocol is a paper writing assignment due in week 10, which furthermore is to be pitch- presented in week 10. Moreover, a max 5-10 min ‘you-tube’ movie (Massive Online Open Content = MOOC form) should be made with the aim to give new- other students or even laymen an introduction and appealing appetizer on your research project or trial proposal.

Exam and open questions: In week 10, knowledge from all themes but with a focus on the content of week 4-9 is tested via MC- and open questions. Students are again tested for common themes of the matrix and skills as are mentioned in the ‘algemene leerdoelen’ and that are also tested in the matrix assessments: the exam will constitue 30 % of the final grade. The questions will highlight different perspectives on such therapies e.g. predominantly patient- oriented but also a more ethics-regulatory, research, physician, insurance agent, board of directors of the LUMC view will receive attention. Feedback will be given on correct answers.

Other assignments: Additional to the ZSO paper (described above), several assignments are given to the students throughout the minor and can be prepared in the form of group or individual ZSOs or can consist of a ‘practice session’ or a debate. These assignments serve as learning aids or ‘leermiddelen’ (see the assessment plan matrix and the time table); they need to be passed but have no weight in the final grade.

Examination committee:
Prof. J.J. Zwaginga, Dr. T. Nikolic, Dr. P. Meij, Dr. M. Eikmans, Dr. T. Netelenbos, Dr. L.E.M. van Oosten, Dr. M. Schilham

The exam dates can be found on the schedule website.


Blackboard will be used during this course.

Reading list

Papers will be provided per day-to-day schedule via Blackboard.


Registration for FOS courses, H2W, Scientific Conduct, How to start, Course on Animal Science, and CRiP and Adv concepts courses 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


Prof. J.J. Zwaginga
LUMC, Department of Immunohematology
and Blood Transfusion

Dr. T. Nikolic
LUMC, Department of Immunohematology
and Blood Transfusion

Mw. A.N. Gunthardt
LUMC, Department of Immunohematology
and Blood Transfusion