On 4 June we launched four new research collaborations across hospitals and universities. The collaborations will ensure faster implementation of new research results of benefit to patients. The new Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs) aim to create results within colorectal cancer, skin cancer, chronic inflammation in the body and chronically ill elderly citizens.
Better prevention, more accurate diagnoses and effective treatment of patients. This is the objective of the CAGs, which are collaborations between researchers and clinicians at hospitals and universities. The collaborations are conducted across the GCHSP partnership organisations: the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, Region Zealand and the Capital Region of Denmark.
Now the partnership is launching another four CAGs, which will strengthen and unite clinical practice, research, education and skills development within colorectal cancer, skin cancer, chronic inflammation in the body and chronically ill elderly citizens.
‘We face a series of very complex health challenges. Research will help solve them. To do so we need large-scale research collaborations across universities and hospitals, where basic, translational, clinical and health technological research together contribute to identifying, developing and implementing solutions. In Denmark, we are already doing this, but we need to be even better at it’, says Director of GCHSP Per Jørgensen.
At the launch, representatives from the new CAGs will talk about the difference their collaboration will make for patients. The regional chief executives of Region Zealand and the Capital Region of Denmark will both be present at the event, which will be held in the Maersk Tower at the University of Copenhagen, where they will talk about their political visions for the partnership.
Brief descriptions of the four new CAGs:
Better and More Accurate Diagnoses for Patients with Colorectal Cancer
Each year 5,000 patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Denmark. Many are treated with surgery, but one in four patients suffers from complications within a month after surgery and one in three patients will develop disease recurrence.
Professor Ismail Gögenur from the Zealand University Hospital and Professor Ali Salanti from the University of Copenhagen aim, via this CAG, to reduce morbidity and increase survival for patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer subjected to surgery. Previous research has shown that a tailored approach delivering the right treatment at the right time will have dramatic effects on the prevention of complications and recurrence after surgery. The CAG will provide a state-of-the-art clinical research platform for personalised medicine in surgery through a collaboration between basic scientists specialised in big data, experts in translational laboratory techniques and a multidisciplinary team of experts from each phase of the entire patient care pathway.
Better Treatment for Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Disease
Patients with inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and the common disease periodontitis (previously known as paradentosis) suffer from chronic low-grade inflammation. These diseases are connected, and one disease can worsen the course of another. Even though research in the area has attracted much attention, we need more knowledge of the mechanisms linking the diseases, enabling us to improve treatment. There is a lot to suggest that the course of illness can be improved by inhibiting systemic low-grade inflammation, for example via cross-disciplinary intervention in the form of physical exercise or treatment for periodontitis.
Professor Peter Riis Hansen from Herlev-Gentofte Hospital and Professor Palle Holmstrup from the University of Copenhagen are the persons responsible for the inflammation CAG. They aim to improve treatment for patients with chronic inflammation in the body. Together with the rest of the CAG team of talented basic researchers and a number of clinical specialists, they will provide new knowledge of the many diseases involved and create synergies promoting research, teaching, innovation and clinical implementation.
Customised Treatment of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer globally, with an increasing incidence that is currently higher than for all other cancers combined. Daily, approximately 100 Danes receive a skin cancer diagnosis, and 40 per cent of these will eventually develop additional tumours. Representing approximately 3 per cent of the Danish population, about 150,000 persons are currently affected by the disease nationally.
Together Professor Merete Haedersdal from Bispebjerg Hospital and Professor Lars Kai from the Technical University of Denmark strive to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and the socio-economic costs associated with the disease. The skin cancer CAG will unite departments of dermatology in the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand with experts in artificial intelligence and health data at the Technical University of Denmark with a view to improving the quality and equality within patient care. Through a strong cross-disciplinary collaboration they will focus on individual risk assessment, prevention, precision diagnostics and customised treatment with a view to making a significant contribution to research, education and society.
Improved Treatment of Elderly Citizens Suffering from Acute and Chronic Diseases
More than 1 million in 1.3 million hospital admissions per year in Denmark are acute, and 70 per cent concern elders. The onset of acute illness in the elderly population is often complicated by competing acute and chronic conditions and polypharmacy, resulting in increased risk of adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals and poor quality of treatments.
Together Professor Ove Andersen from Hvidovre Hospital and Professor Lene Juel Rasmussen from the University of Copenhagen have established a CAG focussing on the connection between ageing, acute disease and the development of chronic conditions in elderly citizens. The objective of the CAG is to improve acute treatment of elderly and fragile patients experiencing acute hospital admissions and to optimise healthcare for the elderly population in Denmark. The collaboration involves a series of health professional areas, the emergency hospitals in the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand and researchers within both biomedicine, social science, political science and socio-economics of benefit to cross-disciplinary education and development of new treatment models for implementation in the healthcare system.
About 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 strengthen the effect of research on clinical practice of benefit to patients. GCHSP does this by strengthening the opportunities for collaboration between clinical and basic research. GCHSP 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 GCHSP to form networks and develop new ideas, facilitating faster scientific results and better treatment for patients.
The first CAGs were announced in June 2017, and on 28 June 2018 another four CAGs were introduced. Last August the Technical University of Denmark and Region Zealand entered the collaboration, and with the launch of four new CAGs on 4 June 2019 there will be a total of 12 CAGs.
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 health science and thus promote health among patients and citizens in eastern Denmark.