CRI Funded Scientists

Judith Bovee, MD, PhD, CRI-Chordoma Foundation CLIP Investigator

Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands)

Area of Research: Sarcoma

Dr. Judith Bovee is characterizing the complexity of the chordoma microenvironment in order to leverage natural immunity for tailored immunotherapy approaches. 

Chordoma, a type of sarcoma that arises in the bones of the skull base and spine, is an ultra-rare cancer—it affects just one in one million people per year. Chordomas are generally treated with surgery and sometimes also with radiation therapy, but large percentages of people still suffer from recurrence and metastatic relapse. Since chordomas are so uncommon, in-depth knowledge of their immunological nature is largely lacking. Encouragingly, Dr. Bovee recently demonstrated that chordomas are relatively“hot” immune-wise as compared to other bone tumors, meaning that they already have pre-existing immune responses against the cancer, which could improve immunotherapy’s chances of success. 

Now, Dr. Bovee is integrating diverse technologies to comprehensively characterize the behavior of different cells within chordoma tumors, including their metabolism, to provide an unprecedented view of the chordoma microenvironment. By combining these findings with cutting-edge imaging technology, Dr. Bovee plans to develop a method to predict the composition of a patient’s chordoma immune microenvironment using non-invasive scans alone. Through this spatial atlas of chordomas, Dr. Bovee aims to contribute essential knowledge to our understanding of this disease and set the groundwork for improved therapies and biomarker-based approaches in the clinic. 

Projects and Grants

Leveraging natural immunity in chordomas for tailored immunotherapy

Leiden University Medical Center | Sarcoma | 2023

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