Project at Health Tech aims to monitor drugs in cancer patients

Monday 10 Aug 20


Anja Boisen
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 57 27

Co-founded companies

Silmeco (2013)

Blusense Diagnostics (2014)

Lightnovo (2019)

Cantion (2002)

Researchers from DTU Health Tech are developing a miniaturized tabletop device that can perform therapeutic drug monitoring on a single drop of blood in a matter of minutes. The project recently received a three-year development grant of DKK 18 million from BioInnovation Institute.

People break down medication differently so it is critical to monitor the concentration of medication in patient’s blood regularly. Especially medication for leukemia is very toxic and it can have serious consequences if it is not administered correctly.

However, to monitor this, blood samples must be sent to a lab and it can take many hours before the hospital receives an answer.

Meeting needs and making a difference

After speaking with doctors about this issue, Professor and Centre Leader Anja Boisen from DTU Health Tech decided to do something about it.

Thus, she put together a research team to develop a point-of-care device that can be placed near the patient and measure if he/she gets the correct dosage in a matter of minutes. And it only takes a single drop of blood.

This miniaturized tabletop device is intended for cancer patients. It will make a huge difference in cancer therapy where the wrong dosage of medication has serious repercussion. Since it will be both quick and easy, doctors will be able to follow up several times a day.

"As researchers, we have a unique opportunity to contributing. And it’s OK to take chances and fail"
Professor Anja Boisen

“The technology is based on Raman spectroscopy – a measurement by light”, Prof. Boisen explains, “it will most likely be used for medication with a small therapeutic window where too much medication is really dangerous and too little has no effect”.

The team is looking forward to a collaboration with BioInnovation Institute after receiving a three-year development grant of DKK 18 million. “Having financial safety for the next 3 years means a lot. We can continue to mature the technology and get it tested. A collaboration with BII, with access to their facilities and topnotch business knowledge, is also extremely valuable”, says Prof. Boisen about the grant and upcoming collaboration with BII.

Why innovation at universities matters

Prof. Anja Boisen is no stranger to innovation. She has co-founded no less than 4 startups and runs another innovation project about drug delivery simultaneously. This project is also expected to be spun into a startup company.

”Innovation is important for society, and we have so much knowledge at the universities. We already publish a lot, and we have gotten better at taking patents. So why not take that extra step? As researchers, we have a unique opportunity to contributing. And it’s OK to take chances and fail.”

Surely, being a Professor and Centre Leader with several innovation projects must be hard work and take a lot of personal drive. According to Professor Boisen, her drive is based on curiosity and being open to new ideas.

“I take a lot of inspiration from speaking with doctors about their concrete needs and sparing with different types of people with different areas of expertise”, she concludes.