Godefridus (Frits) J. Peters


Professional Experience:

Medical University of Gdansk
August 2019 - Present
Department of Biochemistry
Gdańsk, Poland
Setting up a line on cancer research

Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location VUmc
June 2018 - present
Laboratory Medical Oncology
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Professor (Full)


Major: Pharmacology

Field: Mechanisms of drug action

Professor Godefridus (Frits) J. Peters is an internationally reputed scientist in the field of human pharmacology of anticancer drugs (including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenetics) and was head of the Laboratory Medical Oncology of the Department of Medical Oncology of the VU University Medical Center. He resigned from this position in 2017.

Professor Peters studied biology and chemistry at the University of Nijmegen, obtained his master's degree in biochemistry in 1977 and his Ph.D. in 1982 on the relation between inborn errors and immunodeficiency diseases. He did post-docs at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and subsequently at the Free University Hospital in Amsterdam under the supervision of Professor H.M. (Bob) Pinedo. In 1986 he received a senior research fellowship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1989, he was appointed as head of the division of Biochemical Pharmacology, in 1998 as head of the division of Pharmacology and deputy-head of the laboratory, and in 2003 as head of the Laboratory Medical Oncology.
The research of Prof. Peters is focused on translation of preclinical pharmacology of anticancer agents to the clinic. This includes all aspects of drug development of various classes including anti-signalling protein kinase inhibitors, antifolates, antimetabolites, platinum analogs, topoisomerase inhibitors, and taxanes. Prof Peters was involved in several Phase I and 2 studies of drugs now registered for treatment of cancer such as gemcitabine, pemetrexed, erlotinib, while several “failed” clinical studies led to the development of successful drugs in cancer and other areas. Drugs were improved by optimizing drug combinations, proper prodrugs or drug carriers, or by identification of resistance genes as biomarkers. For the latter, analysis of signalling pathways was performed, in relation to expression, mutations and genetic polymorphisms in driver genes, and regulation by miRNAs. Other research interests include regulation of transport (influx and efflux pumps), and metabolism of anticancer drugs, DNA repair, apoptosis and protein processing (proteasome, aminopeptidase, autophagy). These research fields are interconnected by studying the role of phosphorylation by various protein kinases on the function of these pumps (OCTs, MRPs, BCRP). These studies are translated from model systems to the patient and back, in order to provide personalized therapy using predictive biomarkers for selection of the proper drug.

Professor Peters also (co)-organized several meetings such as some Gene to Cure meetings in Amsterdam (on colon, pancreatic, esophageal cancer), several EORTC-PAMM (Pharmacology and Molecular Mechanisms) meetings, meetings on Chemotherapy of Colon Cancer, the combined International/ European Meeting on Purine and Pyrimidine Metabolism and the 13th International Symposium on Chemistry and Biology of Folates and Pteridines, and the 4th meeting of the Folate Receptor Society. He was president of the European Society for the Study on Purine and Pyrimidine Metabolism in Man (ESSPPMM) and helped to transform this society into an international society, the Purine and Pyrimidine Society (PPS) and is secretary/treasurer. He was secretary (2015-2019) and chair of the EORTC-PAMM group (2009-2015) and chair of the Drug Development Committee of this group. He was member of the scientific committee of several international meetings on chemotherapy and translational research, and was/is member of the Scientific Advisory Boards, of (inter)national Cancer Organisations, pharmaceutical companies and review boards of National Science Organizations (INSERM, INCa, CAIXA, FWO, UICC, AACR). 

Education is important in research, since well-educated researchers are the future of cancer research. Prof Peters supervised more than 30 Ph.D. students and over 100 master students and guest scientists from all continents. Teaching varied from bachelor students at the Amsterdam University College to master students in pharmaceutical sciences. He was one of the initiators of the Master in Oncology in 2002 and was chair of the examination committee from 2002-2013.

As of 2021, Prof. Peters has authored/co-authored 605 refereed research papers and reviews, as well as 171 papers/chapters in books and congress proceedings (H-index 96, citations 43912; Google Scholar), he is/was member of >40 editorial boards, and recently initiated a journal devoted to drug resistance, Cancer Drug Resistance. 

For papers see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Peters+GJ#