The Greater Copenhagen Health Science Partners (GCHSP) have launched four new research collaborations within multiresistant bacteria, cancer surgery, blood cancer and multi-organ failure. The new Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs) have participation from hospitals and universities and will contribute to faster research implementation.
Better prevention, more precise diagnoses and effective treatment of patients. These are the aims of a CAG, which is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between researchers and clinicians at universities and hospitals. The collaboration involves both the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, Region Zealand and the Capital Region of Denmark.
Now four new CAGs are added to the partnership, bringing together clinical practice, research, education and skills development within multiresistant bacteria, cancer surgery, blood cancer and multi-organ failure.
‘We now have 16 strong CAG collaborations across universities and hospitals. When we work together across the health science and health tech organisations and areas of expertise, we increase our chances of developing and implementing treatment faster of benefit to the patients. Through close cooperation we are able to solve the highly complex health challenges we face today, and it is clear to us that the CAG collaborations constitute a useful tool’, says Director of GCHSP Per Jørgensen.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the new CAGs will not present their collaboration until next summer.
Even more new health-promoting research collaborations are in the pipeline. As of 1 October 2020, GCHSP welcomes applications for new research collaborations that may apply for a CAG position. The deadline for applications is 11 February 2021.
Short Description of the Four New CAGs
Fighting Multiresistant Bacteria
Bacterial infections become still more difficult to fight with antibiotics, and the WHO predicts that inflammatory diseases will constitute a greater health risk than cancer a few decades from now. In many patients, antibiotics do not have an effect on the bacteria, and this makes the infection chronic. It is therefore often vital that the bacteria are detected early, diagnosed and treated correctly before they become permanent. However, new research shows that there are several reasons why bacteria often survive treatment and develop into continued or chronic infections.
Professor Helle Krogh Johansen from Rigshospitalet and Professor Søren Molin from the Technical University of Denmark have set out to improve the survival rate of patients suffering from bacterial inflammation. As a collaboration between clinicians and researchers from universities and hospitals, the CAG seeks to develop methods for fighting bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics. By combining health science knowledge of inflammation with new technologies and artificial intelligence, the researchers aim to identify patterns in genes and tissue with a view to discovering markers for resistant bacteria.
More Precise and Effective Cancer Surgery
The fundamental challenge in cancer surgery is distinguishing between cancer tissue and normal tissue, and small microscopic pieces of the tumour are often overlooked and left in the area to cause recurrences of the illness. If the surgeon fails to remove the entire tumour, the patient is subjected to chemotherapy or radiation, but such supplementary treatment is a significant burden to the patient, which may subsequently affect their quality of life and functional capacity.
Professor Christian von Buchwald from Rigshospitalet and Professor Andreas Kjær from the University of Copenhagen wish to develop a method that will ensure complete removal of cancer tissue and thus improve surgical cancer treatment. Using optical imaging, where fluorescent molecules are attached to the molecules that attach to cancer tissue, they are able to improve visualisation of the cancer during surgery and thus help achieve complete removal of the disease.
Improved Survival Rates for Blood Cancer Patients
Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are a group of chronic blood cancers of which around 500 Danes are diagnosed each year. MPN patients live with increased risk of blood clots and comorbidities such as dementia, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis and increased risk of other cancers, which contribute to a significantly reduced quality of life and ability to work. In Denmark, approx. 10,000 citizens live with an undiagnosed MPN blood cancer and constantly increased risk of blood clots in the e.g. the brain, heart or lungs.
If they do not receive treatment, patients often develop bone marrow failure after many years’ illness, which is far more resistant to treatment. It is therefore vital that MPN blood cancers are diagnosed at a much earlier stage than is the case today.
Professor Hans C. Hasselbalch from Roskilde Hospital and Associate Professor in Bioinformatics Lars Rønn Olsen from the Technical University of Denmark have established a CAG collaboration across the health sciences and technology striving to increase the quality of life and survival rates of patients with chronic MPN blood cancers. They aim to do this by strengthening MPN research and knowledge of blood cancers in the hospital departments who see patients with increased blood cell counts. This is to ensure early diagnostics and targeted treatment.
Life-Saving Help for Critically Ill Patients with Multi-Organ Failure
Multi-organ failure is currently the most frequent cause of death in intensive care departments in Denmark and at international level. In Denmark alone more than 3,000 out of 15,000 intensive-care patients die each year, and in Europe it is more than 1 million. Multi-organ failure is a life-threatening condition, where the body’s vital organs stop working. This happens when damage to the thin cell layer covering the inside of all blood vessels, called the endothelium, stops the oxygen supply to vital organs. The condition is seen in critically ill patients following shock caused by trauma, blood poisoning or resuscitation after cardiac arrest.
Professor Pär Ingemar Johansson from Rigshospitalet and Professor Bernard O. Palsson from the Technical University of Denmark seek to develop new specialised treatment for this life-threatening condition. The risk of multi-organ failure varies significantly between patients who have experienced the same degree of shock or critical disease, but by using advanced computer models of the endothelium’s metabolism they can determine how the individual patient’s endothelium layer affects his or her risk of developing multi-organ failure and thus facilitate specialised diagnosis and treatment.
About the Greater Copenhagen Health Science Partners
Greater Copenhagen Health Science Partners (GCHSP) is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand. It aims to promote health science and to strengthen the effect of research on clinical practice of benefit to patients. The GCHSP does this by strengthening the opportunities for collaboration between clinical and basic research. It is inspired by an English model from King’s College in London, which has brought basic research at the university and patient-based research in the hospitals closer together.
University researchers and clinical researchers can use the GCHSP to learn from each other and develop new ideas, facilitating faster scientific results and better treatment for patients.
The collaboration makes it possible to strengthen research, innovation and clinical development in Greater Copenhagen. Together the four partner organisations support larger projects and priorities within the health sciences and thus promote health among patients and citizens in eastern Denmark.