B-cells are an essential arm of adaptive immunity-in-balance, as their differentiation in response to foreign antigen generates protective immunological memory and antibodies. When out of balance, aberrant B-cell differentiation and escape from immunological checkpoints governing tolerance and B-cell-selection/activation may lead to pathological, autoreactive, immunological memory and (auto)antibodies. As a result a wide array of immune-mediated diseases (B-IMDs) or malignant transformation of B-cells may follow. Ample evidence indicates successful therapeutic targeting of the B-cell→plasmacell→antibody axis in autoimmune diseases and hematological malignancies. Since almost 10% of the population suffers from either IMDs or lymphoma/leukemia in the Netherlands, there is urgent need for combining B-cell biology expertises across disease fields to optimize therapy efficacy within the fields of B-IMDs and B-cell/plasmacell malignancies. Oncological experience will cross-fertilize and improve IMD treatment approaches possibly leading to cure. IMD-derived B-cell knowledge will fuel development of new treatment strategies in oncology.
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This project has received funding from the PPP allowance (Health Holland), the Association of Dutch Health Foundations (SGF) and our private partners Pfizer B.V., Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. and Acerta Pharma B.V.