VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

Science Directors: Diether Lambrechts & Jean-Christophe Marine

Our mission

The mission of VIB Center for Cancer Biology (CCB) is to contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer initiation, progression and metastatic dissemination with the ultimate goal to develop more effective and specific anticancer therapies and identify novel biomarkers for the early detection, monitoring of cancer progression and prediction of therapy response.

To reach this ambitious goal, excellence in research and education is our top priority. We promote the highest quality research by providing internationally-recognized group leaders and researchers with a top-notch research environment and access to cutting-edge technologies and facilities. Beside our ambition to excel in science, and in line with the recognized link between innovative research and valorization (technology transfer), CCB also seeks to exploit valorization opportunities. Particular attention is paid to technology transfer activities and collaborations or partnerships with the pharmaceutical or biotech industry. Finally, we also strive to reach a maximal societal impact by promoting translational research within our center. We foster and continue to expand our close collaborations with the Leuven Comprehensive Cancer Center (LKI), the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), its University Hospitals (UZ Leuven) and other renowned hospitals world-wide.

Because tumors are complex and heterogeneous ecosystems, composed of many different cell types with distinct features and properties, there is a need to bring together scientists with a diverse range of skills and expertise. CCB has therefore created a stimulating environment that is highly permissive for scientific creativity and innovative ideas, and with a strong emphasis on scientific diversity and multidisciplinarity. 

Beyond borders

A lot of our research projects are conducted in close partnership with colleagues from our two hosting instituttions, VIB & KU Leuven, as well as with international and world-wide recognized experts in the field. 

Funding & partners


FWO    ERC    ODYSSEUS    OPENING THE FUTURE    UZ LEUVEN    Josephine Nefkens Stichting   

KU Leuven    Kom op tegen Kanker    Marie Curie Actions    Horizon 2020    LKI Kankerinstituut   

VLAIO    Koning Boudewijn Stichtng    Stichting tegen Kanker     Swiss Bridge    Interreg     

Fournier Majoie Foundation     National Institutes of Health    Regmed XB     EFSD

Melanoma Research Alliance    Methusalem 

CCB has a long-standing track record at valorizing its research findings through patent applications. Recent applications center around colorectal biomarkers, microRNAs involved in inflammatory diseases, and a series of targets amenable for inhibiting pathological angiogenesis and cancer progression.

Fournier Majoie Foundation     DNAlytics    Biocartis

CCB has several ongoing collaborative research projects with local and international biotechs and larger pharmaceutical companies. Most of these projects are based on our expertise in genomics (including single-cell sequencing), metabolism (access to our state-of-the-art technology park and expertise in interpreting metabolic data), disease modeling (access to unique mouse and patient-derived models) and cancer immunology (availability of expertise and functional genetic screening methods).

Biocartis    Agilent     Janssen    Octimet    Puma Biotech    Eisai     AstraZeneca    Bayer


Expertise Centers: A unique blend of cutting-edge technologies
We have a unique portfolio of state-of-the-art technologies and in-house expertise. These include, but are not limited to, (un)targeted metabolomics, single-cell isolation and profiling at multiple omics levels, expertise in tumor inflammation and immune infiltration, the (epi)genetic characterization of tumor DNA using high-throughput sequencing and the functional characterization of non-coding RNAs and other epigenetic modulators, phenotyping of numerous spontaneous tumor and preclinical mouse models (breast, melanoma, colon, liver, lung, leukemia, etc.), CRISPR/CAS-based screening technologies, etc.

To support the use and development of this expertise, VIB has set up institutional core facilities that are available to all VIB researchers, including CCB groups, at marginal costs. Moreover, our researchers have also access to a series of KU Leuven-funded facilities/initiatives, some of which VIB and/or CCB have invested in, such as the FACS and single cell facilities, and others that are not directly supported by VIB, such as the PDX platform. Apart from these core facilities, CCB has invested significantly into center-specific core facilities in order to better meet the needs and facilitate the implementation of our mission. Notable are the metabolomics facility (led by Bart Ghesquière), the gene transfer unit (managed by Peter Carmeliet), the genetic technologies (led by Diether Lambrechts), intravital imaging and the histopathology unit.

Center address

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology 
Campus Gasthuisberg – O&N 4
Herestraat 49 – B912
3000 Leuven