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De Lange appointed Professor of Predictive pharmacology

As of 1 March 2018, Elizabeth (Liesbeth) de Lange has been appointed as Professor of Predictive pharmacology at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). She is head of the research group Predictive Pharmacology and mainly aims at developing mathematical models that can predict the effect of drugs.

Loyal to the LACDR

After her study Biophysical Chemistry in Groningen, De Lange obtained her PhD in Leiden at the department of Pharmacology at the LACDR. The department of Pharmacology was extraordinary inspiring to her, and she could set up and expand a line of research. She became head of the Target Site Equilibration research group, with the name changed into Translational and Quantitative Pharmacology research group, and this group is now bearing the name Predictive Pharmacology.

A wanted combination of expertises

De Lange counts as an internationally recognised expert in translational PK-PD models, in which she makes use of highly advanced in vivo experiments (microdialysis in the brain), analytical techniques, and mathematical and computational models. This is an exceptional combination of expertise, which makes her wanted as a research partner as well as a consultant amongst various pharmaceutical companies.

Tailor made

‘Together with my team, I will further improve predictions of drug effects, ultimately for the individual patient ('tailor-made'). We know that drug effects can very between people due to variations in genetic background, development, lifestyle, and health status. This means that a mathematical model has to take into account these personal variations. Currently, we mainly focus on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and colon cancer.’

Dream

‘My dream is eventually to develop a large number of mathematical models for various diseases. First, these models should be able to adequately diagnose different stages of a certain disease, and then be able to provide a proper disease stage specific prediction of drug effects. Thus, these models would provide valuable information for improving the desired effect and reducing the side-effects and toxicity.

First step

Together with her group, De Lange published a model in 2018 that predicts how fast and how much of a drug enters the different parts of the human brain. ‘With this model, we are able to recognise promising drug candidates in an early phase of drug development, by predicting which molecules could reach the desired concentrations in the brain. This will also reduce the use of animals in experiments substantially. A second application is that it helps to improve the design of clinical research in an early phase.’

Prestigious prize

In 2013, she received the prestigious AAPS Fellow Award from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, the largest organisation in her field.     

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