Universiteit Leiden

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Ferry Ossendorp

Professor Molecular Defined Vaccine Biology

Prof.dr. F.A. Ossendorp
+31 71 526 3800

Ferry A. Ossendorp is Professor Molecular Vaccin Biology and head of the Tumor Immunology group in the department Immunology of the Leiden University Medical Centre. He is also member of the Scientific Board of the Dutch Cancer Society KWF.

More information about Ferry Ossendorp

Molecular Vaccin Biology and Tumor Immunology

Immunotherapy has established a firm position in the battle against cancer next to theclassical chemo- and radiation therapies. The observation that the immune system can also attack malignant cells has been known for many years but the cellular and molecular mechanisms have become clear in the last decades. Molecular design of cancer-specific vaccines making use of modern knowledge is a central research theme. Therapeutic vaccination has the major advantage that the induced immune response selectively attacks tumors while leaving the healthy cells untouched. So in theory this is the ideal therapy without severe side effects. The current research aims to better understand the vaccination mechanisms and develop ways to influence the suppressive environment in tumors to allow effective immunotherapy. Therefore novel combination therapies are studied in detail.

Academic career

Ferry Ossendorp studied Biology in the University of Amsterdam and carried out his PhD research in the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD title in the University of Amsterdam. The titke of his thesis (1989) was: "Thyroid antigens and monoclonal antibodies in a thyroid tumor model". He followed his postdoc research in the Netherlands Cancer Institute on the role of T cell functions in cancer. His career was continued as senior researcher on a personally obtained Dutch Cancer Society grant in the Academic Hospital Leiden in 1993. Since 1996 he is scientific staff member on the Department of Immunohematology and Blood 
Transfusion (now Immunology) in Leiden University Medical Center. 
In 2001 he became Assistant Professor and in 2005 Associate Professor.  In November 2010 he was appointed as Professor Molecularly defined Vaccine Biology of the faculties Medicine and Mathematics and Natural Sciences. De title of his inaugural lecture was: ”To push the right buttons”.

For more than 25 years Ferry Ossendorp is investigating the immune system and cancer and is now head of the Tumor Immunology Group.
Basic research of the T cell immune system in many different aspects is central in his team. Studies to antigen uptake, processing and presentation to T cells, the biology of dendritic cells and the regulation of immunity are aimed to raise our understanding of the immune reactions to tumor cells and improve immunotherapy of cancer. Recently the research findings from the laboratory and in experimental animals are translated to an early clinical study in which cancer patients are injected with and experimental tumor-specific peptide-conjugate vaccine.

Prizes and honourable appointments

Ferry Ossendorp has received personal grants from NWO TOP (2011), CTMM (2011) and the American Cancer Research Institute CRI (2015). In 2016 the Leiden University Translational Drug Discovery & Development “Molecule to Man” Award was received with the aim to develop Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy. 

Professor Molecular Defined Vaccine Biology

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Immunologie
  • IHB Tumorimmunologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Room number E3-Q



  • Immunetune Adviseur
  • KWF Lid wetenschappelijke raad van KWF
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