Peter Sminia (P.I.)

Peter Sminia finished his PhD training at the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center in 1990 with his - designation ‘cum laude’ - thesis entitled ‘The sensitivity of the rat spinal cord to hyperthermia alone or combined with radiotherapy' (promotor Prof. dr. D. González González). He was staff member of the department up to 1999, with a postdoc period in 1992 at the Institut für Biophysik und Strahlenbiologie in Hamburg, Germany (Prof. Dr. H. Jung and Prof. Dr. H-P. Beck-Bornholdt). Since 1999, he is appointed PI as assistant professor in Radiobiology at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center location VUmc & Cancer Center Amsterdam.

Research interest

Preclinical research from our group is aimed at exploring radiosensitization strategies in brain and pancreatic cancer therapy, and to translate preclinical data to the clinical setting. Over the last decade, experimental brain tumour studies have been performed on the efficacy and mechanism of interaction between irradiation and (potential) radiosensitizing drugs, e.g. the alkylating agent temozolomide, anti-inflammatory drugs, the HDAC inhibitor valproic acid, curcumin, gemcitabine and molecular targeted agents. A recent focus was on drug targeting of the PI3Kinase/Akt/mTOR and MAPK signalling pathways combined with irradiation. As a key result, the radiosensitizing potential of MAPK pathway inhibitors in vitro and in vivo brain tumour models was identified. Latest studies involve the delivery of radiosensitizing agents to brain tumour cells and spheroids using polymeric nanocarriers, in collaboration with the Radiation Science and Technology group at the TU Delft. Also, the therapeutic efficacy of peptide functionalized passion fruit-like nanoparticles, loaded with cisplatin is investigated on pancreatic ductal adeno carcinoma cells and with pancreatic stellate cells co-cultured spheroids. This ongoing PhD project is performed together with the CCA pancreatic cancer research group (PI Elisa Giovannetti) and the Radiation Oncology VUmc (PI Max Dahele). Using the co-culture model, the role of c-MET Inhibitors in overcoming drug resistance as well as the response to fractionated and stereotactic irradiation alone and combined with other therapeutic strategies is investigated. Furthermore, we participate in the national KWF granted INTOPRO consortium, which is focused on the radiobiological aspects of proton irradiation. 

Professional experience

  • Vice-president of the European Radiation Research Society (2021-present).
  • Council member of the European Radiation Research Society (2017-2020).
  • Board member Netherlands Commission on Radiation Dosimetry (NCS) (2009-2019).
  • Secretary treasurer Dutch Society for Radiobiology (NVRB) (2007-2012).
  • Chairman Neuro-Oncology working group Integraal Kankercentrum Amsterdam  (2006-2008). 
  • Chairman COST B14 action “Hyperbaric Oxygen” working group Oncology of the European Commission and member of the COST B14 management committee (1999-2005).
  • (Co)-organizer and scientific committee member of national and international meetings from the International Congress of Radiation Research, the European Society of Hyperthermia, the Dutch Society for Radiobiology, The Netherlands Commission on Radiation Dosimetry and the European Radiation Research Society. 
  • Reviewer of Scientific Journals, including Cancers, Radiotherapy & Oncology, International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, BMC Cancer and Cells. 

Radiobiology training activities

  • Organizer and Lecturer of the Radiation Oncology course of the Oncology Graduate School Amsterdam (OOA) for the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Amsterdam University medical centers (AMC and VUmc). 
  • Lecturer Boerhave Courses in Radiation Protection at the Leiden University Medical Center.
  • Lecturer In-Holland post-HBO module radiobiology
  • Lecturer for the Dutch Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (NVRO).
  • Lecturer in Radiobiology, bachelor and master students and trainees in Radiation Oncology at the VU University, VU University medical center and Amsterdam University College.
  • Supervisor of bachelor, master and PhD students.

Research output