Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Personalised medicine and targeted therapy Department
Personalised medicine and targeted therapy
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.

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, which 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.

  • 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 developing assays for drug monitoring, which are used to individualize 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 pandemic (2020-), this innovative approach has helped to reduce patient visits to the hospital and thus reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

  • Cancer is still one of the main causes of death in the world. Many research is focused on the development of new diagnostics and treatments. We investigate the potential use of innovative diagnostic tools, like imaging, drug monitoring, biomarkers and genetics, to select patients before start of their potential therapy and to personalize and evaluate treatments. This approach results in more effective and less toxic treatment for cancer patients.
    Furthermore we study the development, manufacturing and potential use of new innovative drugs. We are especially interested in Advanced Medicinal Products like engineered monoclonal antibodies, vaccines and gen/cell therapy. At this moment we are working, together with the department of hematology, on the point-of-care development, production and use of CAR T-cells in patients with B-cell lymphoma. This approach is hypothesized to be equally effective with less costs compared to the commercial available product.


University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology
PO Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting address
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen