The NVGCT proudly presents its three honorary members:
Prof. Lex van der Eb was appointed as honorary member at the society’s spring symposium in April 2003. During the ceremony, Prof. dr. Rob Hoeben praised Van der Eb’s accomplishments in the field of virology. The laboratory of Van der Eb developed the 293, 911 and PER.C6 cell lines which are currently being used worldwide for production of viral vectors. In addition, in collaboration with Prof. Frank Graham, Van der Eb developed the Calcium Phosphate transfection method. This method was the first to enable transfection of mammalian cells and was therefore an important milestone in the field of gene therapy.
Prof. Winald Gerritsen was appointed as honorary member at the spring symposium in March 2005. At this meeting, Prof. dr. Hidde Haisma praised Gerritsen for his significant contribution to the founding of the society. Furthermore, Haisma highlighted Gerritsen’s role in the establishment of the Translational Genetherapy Program of ZonMw (the Netherlands organisation for health research and development). Gerritsen was described as an important promoter for the field of gene therapy, particularly for clinical research.
Prof. Dick van Bekkum († 17 July 2015) was appointed as honorary member at the spring symposium in March 2013. He was one of the pioneers in bone marrow transplantation in the 1960s, which enabled effective treatment of patients with severe immune deficiencies (SCID). He also pioneered the use of genetically engineered bone marrow stem cells in the early 1990s that enabled the use of autologous cells for genetic blood diseases without the need to find a matching donor. Prof. van Bekkum was also active in generating public awareness of the importance of stem cell research. In 1967 he started together with the late prince Claus the society “Bio-wetenschappen en Maatschappij” with the aim to promote life science research with the general public. In 2010 prof. van Bekkum together with Huib Vriesendorp founded Cinderella Therapeutics, with the aim to continue the development of medicines that were no longer of interest to Big Pharma.