Why organs fail

Video "Why organs fail"

Health Care

The costs of the Health care system are globally rising to the extent that this cannot be afforded anymore in the future. A key aspect to be addresses in this aspect is the fact that current drugs only work in 30-50% of the patients. Consequently the non-responder population suffers side effects and loss of quality of life. Moreover the side-effects increase on its turn again the economic burden on the health care system. In other words improved diagnosis is key to enable personalized medicine and to enable new intervention strategies. 

Systems biology

Systems biology has developed in recent years from a technology driven enterprise to a new strategic tool in Life Sciences, particularly for innovative drug discovery and drug development. Combining the ultimate in systems phenotyping with in-depth investigations of biomolecular mechanisms, enables a revolution in our understanding of disease system pathology and will advance translational medicine, combination therapies and personalized medicine.

Microvascular disease

Microvascular disease is the result of continued exposure of the microvasculature to adverse metabolic and hemodynamic cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. It leads to the progressive loss of tissue capillaries (rarefaction), tissue-ischemia and fibrosis. As a consequence, rarefaction is a main cause of morbidity of the elderly, leading to end-organ diseases including heart failure, kidney failure, dementia, and beta cell failure in pancreas. However, little is known on how cardiovascular risk factors cause loss of microvascular integrity leading to organ failure in patients, and effective pharmacological treatments are consequently lacking due to this limited understanding of the disease pathology.

Metabolomics-based approach

Thomas Hankemeier will apply a metabolomics-based systems biology approach as developed in his group, further optimize this and combine this with a novel organ-on-a-chip platform to be further developed. This combination is ideal for both deep mechanistic studies (organ, tissue level) and for detection of biomarkers for disease at a systems level (animal, human level). The systems level diagnosis will enable patient stratification. Using existing drugs the novel technology platform will be validated for microvascular applications and will serve as base for new therapeutic interventions to counteract the loss of microvascular integrity, and thus, prevent ultimately organ failure.

More information

Video about the Mimetas organ-on-a-chip platform:


In the video below Thomas Hankemeier tells about the technology developed in the metabolomics lab