Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Personalised medicine and targeted therapy. Department
We study variability in drug response and the underlying molecular mechanisms as well as the biological, clinical, behavioral and environmental characteristics influencing response variability. This should lead to more personalised and targeted therapy with better outcomes for individual patients as well as more cost-effective treatment for society.

We search for new treatment targets and approaches to optimise the use of drug treatments in individual patients. We want to better understand variability in drug response and underlying molecular mechanisms, in particular related to the treatment areas of diabetes and oncology. We work on new techniques for drug development, drug exposure monitoring, molecular imaging, biomarker use, and we test interventions to improve drug use and treatment decisions in clinical practice. In this way, we want to improve outcomes for individual patients and increase the cost-effectiveness of medication treatment for society.

Our research lines include:

  • Preclinical pharmacological research
  • Drug development, molecular imaging and drug monitoring
  • Clinical trials, biomarkers, individual drug response and patient-relevant outcomes
  • Drug utilisation, pharmaceutical services and regulatory science
Relevance

How our research benefits to society

Drug therapy is the cornerstone for treating many diseases and preventing disease progression and complications. In our department, we conduct pre-clinical, translational and clinical research, with a special focus on diabetes or cancer. In recent years, we have made important discoveries to prevent the progression of diabetic kidney disease, which may affect up to a third of all people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, our department is involved in the development of innovative diagnostics and treatments for cancer. In addition, we are testing a range of new strategies to support optimal and cost-effective drug use in individual patients in clinical practice.

  • Diabetic kidney disease is a common complication in people with type 2 diabetes. We investigate new targets and drugs that may be of help to prevent and treat this complication. Our preclinical research group developed a new class of compounds (so called SUL-compounds) which may inhibit the progression of diabetic kidney damage. This is a first step in the development of a potential new drug. Our clinical research group contributed to the discovery of a novel class of diabetes drugs, the SGLT2-inhibitors, is effective to prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease. We also discovered that these drugs are effective in slowing the progression of non-diabetic chronic kidney disease These findings have led to new recommendations in the international treatment guidelines for diabetic kidney disease. If implemented, we expect that many patients will benefit from such treatment.

  • Will be completed as soon as possible

  • Individualised and patient-centred treatment choices and support are important to improve optimal drug use in clinical practice. We study new approaches and interventions to support healthcare providers and patients in making better treatment decisions. This includes decisions about intensifying treatment or providing adherence feedback when needed. Recently, we showed the potential of a low-cost tool for community pharmacists to provide patient-tailored adherence support. We also conduct research on decisions to reduce or stop treatment when the benefits no longer outweigh the risks (so called deprescribing). This research has contributed to the recent Dutch guidance on deprescribing.

  • We develop and test new technologies to better monitor drug levels and drug intake in individual patients, and use such information to guide patient-centred decisions. We have a long history in making assays for drug monitoring, which are used to individualise treatment in clinical practice. In recent years, we have developed home monitoring tools, which make use of Dried Blood Spots together with an App to check the quality of the blood spot. During the corona crisis, this innovative approach has helped to reduce patient visits to the hospital and thus reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection.