ERC Grant for Jingyang Fu (UMCG) to study 'BugDrugs' in Organ-on-Chip and humans
hDMT PI Jingyuan Fu of the UMCG Genetics/Paediatrics departments has received an ERC Consolidator Grant of 2 million euro from the European Union. She will use this the coming five years to investigate whether the effectiveness of medicines can be improved by making adjustments to the whole of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal system (intestinal microbiome). Her research focuses mainly on commonly used medication that patients receive with cardiovascular diseases or with psychiatric disorders.
A large number of patients do not respond well to commonly used drugs; some patients suffer from side effects. In Europe, about 3.5% of hospital admissions are related to side effects of medicines. It means that many patients are not treated properly because they do not respond or respond poorly to medicines. This does not only has consequences for the patient's well-being, but also entails enormous clinical and financial burdens.
With this ERC Consolidator Grant, Jingyuan Fu solves this problem by changing the bacteria that live in the intestines of humans. In this BugDrug project, she will focus on 23 drugs, which are widely used in the treatment of cardiometabolic and psychiatric disorders. She made this choice because these are common chronic diseases that require patients to take medication on a daily basis. Examples of these medications are statins, beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors.
The BugDrug project is based on a very new concept that the gut
bacteria can contribute to a better individual response to
medicines. Altering the gut microbiome may open up the possibility
of making existing drugs work again. In her research, Jingyuan Fu
uses the large LifeLines cohort study, innovative Organ-on-Chip
technology and clinical interventions. It is precisely through this
combination that she hopes to achieve a better prediction of the
response to medicines and greater effectiveness of the medication.
This research is believed to pave the way for designing the next
phase of personalized medicine, by taking into account an
individual's genetics and the gut microbiome.
The ERC Consolidator Grant is intended for researchers who completed their thesis 7 to 12 years ago. They must have since built up a promising scientific status and submitted an excellent research proposal.