Our group performs translational research on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which is a prime example of a malignancy that is highly dependent on interactions with the tumor microenvironment. In vivo, CLL cells accumulate in peripheral blood (PB) and immune organs. In the lymph node (LN), CLL cells are provided with external signals from surrounding immune cells that drive CLL cells into a proliferative and anti-apoptotic state. This protective niche is clinically very relevant to investigate, yet CLL biology is widely studied using CLL cells isolated from PB. Therefore, it is key to simulate an accurate CLL microenvironment in vitro to study CLL proliferation and responses to drugs. Using PB samples from CLL patients, we established a 3D spheroid model mimicking lymphocyte compositions observed in LN biopsies. In this way, we aim to bridge the gap between current in vitro systems and the physiologic CLL microenvironment in vivo, overcoming some of the current limitations of in vitro CLL studies.

Team leader

Prof. Dr. Eric Eldering

Eric Eldering was trained as molecular biologist/biochemist at the University of Amsterdam (PhD 1992). His research group at the Department of Experimental Immunology was formed in 2002, and he became Professor Molecular Immuno-Hematology in 2012. Initially studying apoptosis regulation in normal and pathological immune cells, this had expanded to include wider fundamental and translational aspects in Immuno-Hematology, with focus on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Team members

Marco Haselager
Postdoctoral researcher

Jamie Lee Roos
Research Technician


This project CCL Lymph node Organoids for Screens and Intelligent Testing (CLOSIT) is in collaboration with Acerta Pharma and Bristol Myers Squibb. The collaboration project is financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs by means of the PPP Allowance made available by the Top Sector Life Science & Health to stimulate public-private partnerships.