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Domenico Valerio

Professor Gene transfer, in particular aspects of application thereof in the hematopoietic system

Name
Prof.dr. D. Valerio
Telephone
+31 71 526 9200
E-mail
d.valerio@lumc.nl

Domenico (Dinko) Valerio (1956) was appointed Professor and head of the section Gene Therapy, department of Cell and Chemical Biology in 1992. In the footsteps of the pioneers of bone marrow transplantation in Leiden (Prof. D.W. van Bekkum, Prof. J.J. van Rood and Prof. J.M.J.J. Vossen), the group aimed to transfer human genes into hemopoietic stem cells. Having cloned and researched the human gene for adenosine deaminase (ADA), the initial focus was on correcting a severe immune deficiency caused by a defect ADA gene. This resulted in the world’s first bone marrow gene therapy trial in patients with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency in collaboration with Dr. A. Fischer (Hôpital Necker, Paris) and Dr. R.J. Levinsky (Great Ormond Street Hospital, London). Over the years, the group conducted research into concrete applications- and improvements of a variety of different viral-based vector systems. Most of the programs were carried out by PhD. students (listed below) who thus received schooling that served as a basis of their further careers.

More information about Domenico Valerio

Domenico (Dinko) Valerio (1956) was appointed Professor and head of the section Gene Therapy, department of Cell and Chemical Biology in 1992. In the footsteps of the pioneers of bone marrow transplantation in Leiden (Prof. D.W. van Bekkum, Prof. J.J. van Rood and Prof. J.M.J.J. Vossen), the group aimed to transfer human genes into hemopoietic stem cells. Having cloned and researched the human gene for adenosine deaminase (ADA), the initial focus was on correcting a severe immune deficiency caused by a defect ADA gene. This resulted in the world’s first bone marrow gene therapy trial in patients with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency in collaboration with Dr. A. Fischer (Hôpital Necker, Paris) and Dr. R.J. Levinsky (Great Ormond Street Hospital, London).

Over the years, the group conducted research into concrete applications- and improvements of a variety of different viral-based vector systems. Most of the programs were carried out by PhD. students (listed below) who thus received schooling that served as a basis of their further careers.

Academic career

In the early days of gene therapy, Dinko also played an active role in its acceptance. Amongst others as a founding member and Vice President of the European Society of Gene Therapy and as a member of the Gene Therapy Committee of the Dutch Health Council (Gezondheidsraad).

In 1993 Dinko founded IntroGene (later renamed Crucell), a spin-off company from the academic research group with the goal to further develop and commercialize gene therapies. Having become the company’s CEO, Dinko’s appointment at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) became an honorary professorship and the academic research group eventually merged with Professor R.C. Hoeben’s group.

At Dinko’s initiative a collaboration with the group of Professor A.J. van der Eb and Professor R.C. Hoeben was formed which resulted in the generation of PER.C6, a cell line that was initially used for gene therapy purposes and later also for the development of a wide variety of vaccines. Upon the acquisition of Crucell by Johnson and Johnson these programs continued. They include, amongst others, vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Polio, Influenza Ebola, Zika and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). As a result, the Leiden Bioscience park currently also harbors large-scale facilities to support the launch of new vaccines on a mass scale for global public use.

A third application of the PER.C6-based adenoviral vector technology resulted in a research line in the field of genomics. Based thereupon Dinko co-founded Galapagos Genomics, a spin-off from Crucell in 1998. To date Galapagos continues to exploit PER.C6-based technology for the discovery of genes encoding targets for medicines with novel modes of action.

Dinko is currently coaching entrepreneurs and serves as an "ambassador" of LUMC and the University in Leiden Bioscience Park. He is co-founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ProQR therapeutics, a Leiden based biotechnology company.

Professor Gene transfer, in particular aspects of application thereof in the hematopoietic system

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Cel en Chemische biologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden

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