Nanotechnology that’s giving chronic patients back their daily life
At Holst Centre we are leading the way in developing scalable micro- and nanotechnological building blocks to produce a new generation of therapeutic systems that can diagnose disease processes and treat them autonomously.
Our population is aging and the number of people with a chronic disease is growing rapidly. Healthcare costs are already surging at the risk of becoming unaffordable. Technical innovations can contribute to the solution of these challenges. Autonomous therapeutic systems can not only help monitor our health, but also administer the right (personal) therapy based on this information. This could greatly reduce the pressure on care, and also provide the opportunity for patients to live normal lifes, without having to deal with chronic treatment or lifestyle modifications. To make this happen, innovation in micro and nanotechnology must go hand in hand with innovation in advanced (bio) materials and cell-supporting techniques.
By developing scalable micro- and nanotechnological building blocks, Holst Centre creates a new generation of therapeutic systems that can detect (new) biomarkers in order to diagnose disease progression and treat these autonomously. By combining our extensive expertise in nano-electronics, sensor technology and AI, we can build therapeutic systems to the highest standards.
To be successful, these systems need to be extremely energy efficient, compact, and cost-effective. In addition, these systems must be able to communicate with the patient and the healthcare professional. Ultimately, the therapeutic system must operate autonomously in the complex human body, while communicating with other autonomous, external systems. Smart algorithms convert the data obtained from the sensors into actionable insights for diagnosis and treatment.
In our research and development line, we develop scalable, mass-producible building blocks that can (partially) replace or support organ functions. A good example is our collaboration with Neurogyn. A combination of these building blocks and an integration with advanced biomaterials and regenerative technologies is ultimately necessary for the production of artificial organs, which, in the long term, could also be implanted.
The ultimate goal can be a portable artificial kidney, a pancreas or new organs that can control depression or rheumatoid arthritis. It is essential that state-of-the-art biomedical and clinical knowledge from research is translated rapidly into tangible products that help support the patient autonomously. That is why the next step of mass production is always considered in an early stage, when we translate research into the first prototypes.