Top Sector Life Sciences & Health
Other News from the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health
Read on more activities and news from the Top Sector LSH in 2018. Be inspired by stories from large collaborations with health foundations up to developments of a startup.
New-mission driven innovation policy›
Health & Care officially assigned as on of the central themes.
Health and Care officially assigned as central theme in the mission-driven innovation policy
On 13 July 2018 the Ministerial Council officially approved the new Mission-Driven Innovation Policy that builds upon the Top Sector Policy, with a clear focus on global societal challenges. Health and Care is appointed as one of the four central themes in the renewed Top Sector Policy. Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) celebrates this good news for the Dutch LSH sector. The importance of the LSH sector and the robust innovative solutions it offers are hereby once again officially recognised by the government.
Collaboration in the quadruple helix
To tackle the societal challenge Health and Care, improving the quality of life (vitality) while restraining the costs of healthcare, it is of utmost importance that citizens, researchers, government and entrepreneurs join forces in the field of science, applied research and innovation. As Health and Care is appointed as one of the central themes in the renewed Top Sector Policy by Minister Eric Wiebes and State Secretary Mona Keijzer, the Top Sector LSH can further stimulate this collaboration in the quadruple helix.
Mission driven innovation policy
Agriculture, Water & Food; Energy transition & Sustainability and Safety are the other central themes appointed within the renewed top sector policy. For all of the societal challenges a number of clear missions will be drafted. These missions are guiding for the establishment of Knowledge and Innovation Agenda’s (KIA’s). Within these agenda’s the approach and strategic plans to reach these missions will be laid out. Other focus points will be valorisation, Human Capital, internationalisation, hurdles in legislation and regulation, the role of the government as launching customer and the affiliation with European and regional initiatives and financing.
The innovation potential in Health and Care is enormous. New treatment modalities, including disease prevention and real cures will lead to huge benefits for patients and society at large.
'The innovation potential in Health and Care is enormous. New treatment modalities, including disease prevention and real cures will lead to huge benefits for patients and society at large.'
At the same time, they go hand in hand with economic growth of an already thriving Life Sciences & Health sector. I am thrilled that our government embraces this view and has identified Health and Care as one of the key priorities in our national innovation policy', says Hans Schikan, Chairman a.i. of the Topsector LSH.
The Top Sector LSH’s KIA 2018-2021 describes the health and care ambitions for the next four years, with the guiding mission ‘vital functioning citizens in a healthy economy’. This mission is supported by national strategic public-private partnerships in the field of cardiovascular diseases, dementia, regenerative medicine and cancer research and will further extend in the upcoming years. In addition, the Top Sector will continue to search for new public-private partnerships that boost innovation in health and care.
Turning to action
To turn the agenda’s into action the ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy expands the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) allowance, a financial instrument for public-private research and development, with 50 million euros per year. This substantial increase in financial resources gives the Top Sector LSH the possibility to invest in more PPP projects and large LSH consortia that aim to tackle diseases through large-scale research and treatment programmes.
The Top Sector LSH invites research organisations, health foundations and companies (start-ups, SMEs and industry) to jointly invest in research and development for the benefit of evidence-based innovation and to help build a strong and sustainable LSH sector that contributes to the global societal challenge ‘Health and Care’.
Dutch Kidney Foundation and Health~Holland granted two projects ›
Impacting the lives of (future) kidney patients.
Dutch Kidney Foundation and Top Sector LSH granted two projects that impact the lives of (future) kidney patients
The Dutch Kidney Foundation (DKF) and Top Sector Life Sciences & Health are investing € 1,300,000 in kidney research. The purpose of this public-private projects call is to initiate new collaborations in the kidney disease domain between leading scientists, emerging talents, patients, care-professionals and companies. These collaborations help to exploit the available scientific excellence in developing specific solutions and tangible products that impact the lives of (future) kidney patients or prevent kidney damage and disease. These collaborations will increase innovation and economic activity thereby contributing to the aims of the Top Sector.
Read more about the two public-private projects below.
Patients with end-stage kidney disease, who are not eligible or are on the waiting list for kidney transplantation, are treated either by hemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD) to replace kidney function. Although lifesaving, both conventional HD and PD have major shortcomings. The treatment is time-consuming, and removal of waste molecules and excess water is inadequate, contributing significantly to the poor quality of life, severe health problems and high mortality (15-20% per year). The daily pill burden is one of the highest reported in any chronic disease state (median 19 pills/day and >25/day in 25% of the patients).
In COPEDIS a new method for peritoneal dialysis (PD) is being developed that eliminates the major drawbacks of current PD. The main prospects are a 2-3 fold better blood purification, lower risk of infection of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, longer preservation of the integrity of this membrane, and less time-consuming.
This will contribute to an overall better health condition of renal patients, less medication and better quality of life. The new system makes use of sorbents that are used to continuously purify the dialysate in the peritoneum. The new device is portable and can be used during the night as a bedside device. In the COPEDIS project, the system will be optimised, built and validated in clinical trials.
Each year, more than 80,000 patients worldwide suffering from end-stage kidney disease obtain a lease-on-life by receiving a donated kidney, dramatically improving their quality of life. While immunosuppression is essential to avoid rejection of the donor kidney, it also dramatically increases the risk of infection. Especially problematic in this setting is BK virus (BKV), a normally latent virus of the kidney that replicates to clinical levels in 35% of kidney transplant patients. This can trigger irreparable kidney damage that severely limits graft function and lifetime, leading to premature kidney loss and a return to dialysis. At present, clinicians are defenceless against BKV, with immunosuppressive tapering allowing the immune system to combat BKV, albeit with an increased risk of both graft rejection and loss.
At Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) a cost-effective proprietary therapeutic compound has been developed that can be intravenously administered to protect the kidney from BKV-mediated damage while maintaining full immunosuppression. Their novel drug diminishes the generation of infectious BKV by more than 80%, and will delay the need for expensive follow-up procedures, including re-transplantation (estimated at 370K€ per patient) and dialysis (90K€ per annum per patient).
Their patented technology employs nuclease-resistant, RNA-based, antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) that naturally target the kidney and disrupt the formation of proper large T- antigen RNA yielding protein isoforms that are ineffective at generating BKV progeny. Based at the LUMC, a team of scientists from the Department of Nephrology conceived and developed the proprietary technology as a result of long-standing expertise in fundamental aspects of RNA splicing, in collaboration with in-house, world-renowned experts in splice modulation in disease settings, viral pathophysiology and kidney transplantation.