1 million euros for corona research and metabolomics

Can we predict beforehand which of the Covid-19 patients will develop critical symptoms? hDMT PI Professor Thomas Hankemeier, together with a diverse consortium of universities, academic hospitals and industrial partners, is looking for answers. The consortium has received a grant of 1 million euros from Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Health~Holland).

Already in March, Thomas Hankemeier, professor Analytical biosciences at Leiden University and leader of the consortium set his focus on Covid-19 research. He uses his expertise in metabolomics, the field that studies the unique chemical fingerprints that specific metabolomic processes leave in our bodies. Think of amino acids, sugars or hormones. These fingerprints give a good image of a person’s current health. ‘The insights we gain from these fingerprints can be used, for example, for diagnostics or personalised medicine for diseases such as dementia, or heart or liver failure,’ explains Hankemeier. ‘Now we hope to use metabolomics to learn more about Covid-19.’

Hankemeier: ‘To make a prediction about the course of the disease, we will determine the metabolic fingerprints in the blood of five to seven thousand Covid-19 patients. This fingerprint consists of more than a thousand metabolic products and lipids. It is therefore a direct reflection of all Covid-19 relevant processes that take place in the body. Think of the viral infection, its consequences, and the body’s reaction to it.’

In this way, researchers can identify markers that predict which new patients will develop serious symptoms. ‘By combining the obtained profiles with computer models and Organs-on-Chip systems, we can accurately determine what is happening in the sick patients,’ says Hankemeier.

With the new collaboration project, Hankemeier and the consortium partners hope to improve patient care for intensive care patients, the elderly and at-risk groups. With the models and fingerprints, they will also be able to test the effect of existing and new drugs or, for example, to optimise patients’ diets and dietary supplements.

Source: LUMC

Project Partners

This project is a collaboration of:
• Leiden University and the Leids University Medical Center
• Utrecht University and the University Medical Center Utrecht
• Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam
• Khondrion BV
• Eyesiu Medicines BV
• Danone Nutricia Research
• Mimetas BV
• AB Sciex Germany GmbH
• Stichting Topcare
• Euretos BV

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