GRANT: Kurt Gothelf receives DKK 24.3m from the Innovation Fund Denmark for improving measurement of medication levels in patients

Photo by Lars Svankjær

A team consisting of professor Kurt Gothelf, iNANO and Department of Chemistry, professor Holger Jon Møller, Aarhus University Hospital, CEO Christian Buur, Unisense A/S and Kristian Bangert, BioPorto Diagnostics A/S has been granted DKK 24.3 million from the Innovation Fund Denmark for the research project, DETECT.

Rapid measurement of the concentration of antibiotics, chemotherapy and anaesthetic agents in the blood of acutely ill patients is critical for the outcome of the therapy. With the DETECT project the team of researchers can initiate development of a fast, cheap and accurate instrument that can determine the level of medications quickly, allowing the doctor to adjust the dose accordingly.

People are different, in terms of our ability to take up medications and metabolise them again. It is therefore important to measure the blood levels of drugs, such as antibiotics, anaesthetics and chemotherapy continually during treatment.

When it comes to treatment of critically ill patients, the determination of the presence of drugs in our blood poses a special challenge for physicians. In these patients, the severity of the disease changes rapidly, and adjusting the dosing of antibiotics, painkillers and anaesthetics is critical for the outcome of therapy.

The expected outcome of the DETECT project is the development of a method for rapid, inexpensive and accurate determination of drugs in blood, in order to give doctors better opportunities to control the dosage.

– With the mass spectrometric methods used today, you have to wait several hours and often until the day after, before you can get the results of the concentration of a drug in a blood sample, and at that time it is often no longer particularly relevant for the treatment, says professor Holger Jon Møller from Aarhus University Hospital.

– We see great therapeutic potential in a measuring instrument that can give the physician the results in less than half an hour. And it is clearly a great strength for the development of the new instrument that we can continuously compare it to our current methods, continues Holger Jon Møller.

The project is based on a new technology that builds on a long collaboration between Aarhus University and Harvard University.

– We have in recent years developed and made proof-of-concept of a technology, in which the binding of small molecules to antibodies can be measured with DNA sequences, explains Professor Kurt Gothelf from Aarhus University, who is leading the DETECT project.

– It is this technology that we will focus on, and make it sufficiently robust, specific and accurate for a commercial measuring instrument, he continues.

The company Unisense in Aarhus will be responsible for the development of prototypes, as well as for the development and marketing of the final instruments. The forth participant in the project is the company BioPorto Diagnostics in Copenhagen, which will develop and deliver the new unique antibodies for use in the technology development.

  • Contact information: Kurt V. Gothelf, Professor, iNANO and Department of Chemistry, 8000 Aarhus C, Tel.: 6020 2725 
  • Budget: DKK 30.1 m
  • Investment by the Innovation Fund Denmark: DKK 24.3 m
  • Duration: 4 years

Official press release by Innovation Foundation (only in Danish):

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