Molecular Cancer Research
University Medical Center Utrecht
Rene Bernards has been a staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute since 1992 and was appointed part time professor of molecular carcinogenesis at Utrecht University in 1994. His scientific accomplishments include the development of MammaPrint, the first clinically-used gene expression profile for breast cancer. To bring this discovery to the clinic he co-founded “Agendia”, a genomics-based diagnostic company that started offering the first microarray-based diagnostic test for the clinical management of breast cancer in 2004. His laboratory also developed the first shRNA vector for gene silencing in mammalian cells and used this vector to create the first genome-scale library of shRNA vectors. His laboratory has used this vector collection to identify biomarkers of response to cancer drugs and to identify particularly powerful drug combinations for the treatment of cancer, based on the concept of synthetic lethality. There are currently several clinical trials that test the efficacy of combination therapies suggested by his genetic screens.