Personal/public health

Clinical care, Personal/public health

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have great potential to improve people’s lives. From supporting data analysis in research to providing more accurate and quicker diagnostic tools. But their interior workings are questioned by many and understood by few. New models are needed to solve current shortcomings and causal AI might be our way out. By offering a peek inside the black box, it creates opportunities to implement AI in high-risk settings such as healthcare. But how far along are we and where is this journey taking us?
In a world where our health is paramount, fatty liver disease, known as metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), is climbing the ranks of health concerns we can't afford to ignore. Imagine your liver, which controls over 500 vital functions, including the body's detox powerhouse, getting clogged with fat. Alarmingly, about 30% of people globally are wrestling against this silent epidemic. It's a complex disease with various risk factors, especially related to gender and sex hormonal differences, making a one-size-fits-all treatment difficult.
After several years of dismal market activity, 2024 is already looking up for deals in the pharmaceutical industry, with a recent flurry of billion-dollar mergers and acquisitions. Is this trend being driven by the impending loss of revenue caused by soon-to-expire blockbuster drug patents? And what does it mean for earlier-stage biotech startups?
Personalized healthcare is characterized by tailoring treatments to each individual patient’s needs. Despite evident benefits, implementing such a system is not straightforward. The ATHENA project consortium has successfully devised a set of building blocks to address the challenges associated. Both technological and governance tools were developed that can now be used on a larger scale to catalyze the transition towards personalized medicine and care.
Belgium is one of the top countries in the world for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Despite the high cumulative success rates of these interventions, disproportionally little attention has been given to the health of both mother and child during and after pregnancy. With the HEART (High risk for pre-Eclampsia after Assisted Reproductive Technology) project, Belgian researchers strive to understand why some women have an increased risk for pre-eclampsia after IVF and whether biomarkers can be identified to estimate these risks early in pregnancy or even before conception. They aim to raise the standard from successful conception to improved child and maternal health.
While a vast majority of women experience vaginal yeast infections, research has fallen short in providing an effective treatment approach. However, hope has emerged recently with the development of new model systems that allow exploration of the complex vaginal environment. Organ-on-chip models enable researchers to examine the interactions between human cells and microbes in a more accurate manner, offering the potential for the development of new therapies.
Innovative Smart Contact Lens Developer Awarded €2.5M in Funding for Groundbreaking Ocular Health Technology
The patient’s journey in a healthcare setting is influenced by factors beyond the mere medical aspects of the case. Local variations in care procedures among hospitals and caregivers enable benchmarking and adaptation of practices to optimize outcomes. For effective process modeling, it’s essential to collect data and extract insights. To optimize this process efficiently, collaborative efforts should explore alternative data sources and implement novel tools.
Barely any people stick to a three-meals-a-day plan. Snacking is part of our culture and can even contribute to a healthy diet when choosing the right snacks. But your appetite doesn’t always agree about what’s the “right” snack. Your hands automatically reach for those candy bars, instead of a handful of nuts. Therefore, we investigated whether two different nutritional labels – calorie labels and the Nutri-Score – can nudge you in the right direction.
Gluten-free dietary products contain more sugar and fats but fewer nutrients and are generally more expensive. A gluten-free diet can even lead to social isolation and stigmatization. Scientists are thus looking for a way that allows people with celiac gluten intolerance disease to enjoy the benefits of gluten in a safe manner.
In December 2023, Azalea Vision announced the first test of their smart contact lens on a real person. This demonstration showcased the first functional prototype of their smart lens, known as the ALMA lens, which was developed by the company to address ocular disorders characterized by the inability to effectively filter light.
In a significant milestone, Azalea Vision, pioneering start-up on a mission to revolutionize the treatment of ocular disorders, announces the successful demonstration of ALMA Lens, the first functional prototype of the Azalea smart contact lens’ platform.
ATHENA, a VLAIO-funded multi-stakeholder project, clears the path for increased reuse of Real-World Data in scientific research and healthcare, by introducing innovative solutions and responding to current technical and governance challenges. The project has made significant strides in the field of oncology by developing groundbreaking privacy-preserving machine learning techniques for predictive analytics. The project findings will be presented and discussed at the ATHENA symposium on November 23rd, 2023.
Even though endometriosis impacts millions of women globally, the condition remains poorly understood and researched, leading to delayed diagnosis and lack of effective treatment. Encouragingly, there are promising recent developments in the field coming from Belgium. Professor Hugo Vankelecom’s research group at KU Leuven uses advanced cellular models, known as organoids, to delve into the disease and expedite the drug discovery process. The Danish BioInnovation Institute now offers the team an incubation program to pave the way towards industrial success.
It’s been a Barbie world this summer with crowds of pink-clad moviegoers flooding the cinemas. Simultaneously, we’ve been witnessing a rush of ‘pink’ fundraising for women’s health start-ups. From pre-clinical to clinical: more companies are entering the field and developing solutions for women’s unique needs. But is their focus broad and innovative enough? And are pharma companies paying attention?