The Netherlands Cancer Institute was established on October 10, 1916. The founders, Rotgans, professor of Surgery, De Bussy, publisher, and De Vries, professor of Pathology, wanted to create a cancer institute ‘where patients suffering from malignant growths could be treated adequately and where cancer and related diseases could be studied’. They bought a house on one of the canals in Amsterdam and named it the ‘Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Huis’, after the famous Dutch microscopist. The clinic had room for 17 patients, while the laboratory could accommodate 8 to 10 scientists.
Nowadays, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL) accommodates approximately 550 scientists and scientific support personnel, 53 medical specialists, 180 beds, an out-patients clinic that receives 24,000 new patients each year, 5 operating theaters and 9 irradiation units. It is the only dedicated cancer center in The Netherlands and maintains an important role as a national and international center of scientific and clinical expertise, development and training.
The three major areas of research are fundamental, clinical and translational cancer research. A thorough understanding of the biological processes of normal cells is the basis for understanding cancerous cells. The laboratory covers all major areas of cancer research, with special emphasis on cell-based screens, mouse tumor models, cell biology, structural biology and epidemiology. The institute coordinates and participates in many clinical trials; most of these are phase 1, 2 or 3 studies of potential new treatments such as combinations of chemotherapeutics, radiotherapy and/or surgery. Results obtained from fundamental research are translated into clinical applications as part of our translation research program.
From its first inception the NKI-AVL saw close collaboration between scientists and clinicians as essential to fighting cancer. Having a laboratory and hospital under one roof in a single independent organization with an open and collaborative atmosphere has led to many important discoveries and improved therapies