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Drug development: how can we make it more efficient?

It takes years to develop new medicines, from the test tube to trials in humans. During the process it often happens that a drug that seems promising in the initial stage has to be dropped in a later phase. This costs time and money. Leiden University and the LUMC are working closely together to make the process more efficient.

A peek in the process

The new research dossier on Efficient Drug Development explains the develoment cycle and gives you a fascinating peek into the whole Leiden process of medicine research.

Doctors, pharmacists, biochemists, chemists and mathematicians at Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) work closely together to find building blocks and starting points for new medicines and ways of making the development process more efficient. Their work is generating significant results. Leiden chemical biologists led by Dr Mario van der Stelt have devised a new measuring method to speed up the research on drugs. The LUMC is starting a large-scale test on the method, focusing on trials with a promising medicine to combat migraine.

Fighting cancer cells

What's the most effective way of switching off tumour cells? The DNA repair mechanism seems to be an important mechanism to improve the effectiveness of fighting cancer cells with chemotherapy. In order to influence this mechanism, researchers first need to have a fundamental understanding of the working of the DNA repair mechanism. Haico van Attikum, a researcher at the LUMC, is working on unravelling this mechanism.

Early intervention


Prevention is better than cure. In order to be able to predict who will become ill, LUMC researchers are looking for factors that point in this direction at an early stage. The Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study is following nearly 7,000 overweight patients in order to identify predicting factors for the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, osteoarthritis and lung disease. The first research results were published recently.

Further information about research on drug development can be found in the Efficient Drug Development research dossier. The dossier is one of a series of web files on current research in Leiden that has a societal impact.  

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