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UT and medical researchers Utrecht join forces Personalized care

Introducing technology into innovative, highly personalized patient care: that is the purpose of intensified cooperation of the University of Twente, the University Medical Center Utrecht and the University of Utrecht.

Personalized healthcare may imply new forms of highly individual cancer treatments, based on diagnostics at the level of a single cell. It may imply: repair of damaged tissue like bone or cartilage, using 3D printing techniques. Or it may imply: wearable artificial organs that come close to the natural processes in the body. Micro imaging, biofabrication and bioartifical organs are the three domains chosen by UT’s MIRA Institute, UMCU and UU for intensified collaboration. The three areas are mutually reinforcing, and they are high on the agenda of European research programmes like Horizon 2020.

Imaging the single tumor cell

Using imaging technique at the level of a single cell, or smaller, it is possible to look at that single circulating tumor cell (CTC) that can cause metastasis. Knowing more about this cell, we can also test adequate and targeted therapy. Micro imaging is the project of Prof Leon Terstappen (UT), Dr. Hugo Snippert (UMCU) and Prof Alain de Bruin (UU, Veterinary Medicine).

3D printed tissue

Will it be possible to repair human tissue that is damaged or worn, by 3D printing a new piece of tissue made of the patient’s own cells? Or can we create a miniature joint on a chip, to do research on arthrosis without the need of animal tests? Biofabrication is the project of Prof Marcel Karperien (UT), Prof Jos Malda (UU), Prof René van Weeren (UU, Veterinary Medicine) and Prof Daniël Saris (UT/UMCU).

Bioartifical organs

A wearable artificial kidney is within reach. Thanks to bio manufacturing, we will be able to turn ‘artificial’ in ‘bio-artificial’ and come closer to the processes happening inside the body of the individual. For monitoring the blood purification properties of the organ, micro imaging will be used. This is the project of Prof Dimitrios Stamatialis (UT) and Prof Marianne Verhaar (UMC/UU)

The contracts for the new collaboration of UT, were signed during a kick off meeting, by UT’s rector Thom Palstra, Frank Miedema (Vice President UMCU) and Prof Wouter Dhert (Dean Veterinary Medicine UU), October 4. Representants of Dutch Cancer Society, Dutch Kidney Foundation and Dutch Arthritis Association joined in a panel discussion on future healthcare developments.

Wiebe van der Veen
Press relations (away Tue afternoon)