In 2001 virologists in Rotterdam, The Netherlands discovered a new virus that causes serious respiratory illnesses mainly in young children. The discovery was the beginning of a successful company that enabled the development and production of a range of diagnostic products. This led to substantial job creation and made a positive contribution to public health.
Imported foods such as shellfish and soft fruits may be contaminated with harmful viruses. Until recently, there was no adequate technology for large-scale virus control of such imports. Together with the French company CEERAM, the University of Barcelona in Spain developed a user-friendly kit to detect hepatitis A in food, which prevents virus outbreaks.
Being an HIV-infected person in the 1980s meant having a mostly lethal condition and taking up to twenty pills a day to postpone the inevitable death sentence. Thanks to research done in a collaboration between Belgian, Czech and United States researchers, an HIV infection is now rather a chronic disease for which only one pill a day is sufficient to lead a virtually normal life.
When scientists from the Belgian Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) met technology transfer professionals, they could not foresee how only a couple of years later they would be heading a firm developing and selling a full range of microscopes based on digital holography. The basic technology was developed at the university, the applications by the spin-off company Ovizio.
Drilling and filling is the usual dentist’s approach to caries. In the early stages, however, caries progression can be halted with a new infiltrant fluid. This fast, painless technique leaves the healthy tooth tissue intact. The German company DMG has perfected the technology, which was invented at Charité-University Medicine in Berlin, Germany and brought it to the worldwide market.
For decades, research teams have been looking for ways to treat cancer. A pioneer in this field, Professor Axel Ullrich, developed Sutent, a drug that prolongs the lives of cancer patients by blocking the blood supply to the tumour. This drug originated in the laboratories of the Max Planck Institute and has become a blockbuster for Pfizer Oncology.
Many people know that broccoli is a healthy vegetable. Thanks to British scientists, a healthier variety of broccoli is available in the the United Kingdom and the United States. This broccoli contains up to three times more of the nutrient glucoraphanin than normal broccoli. Scientific studies indicate that this nutrient may offer protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
When Horst Lindhofer started research on bispecific antibodies in cancer treatment, he could not have expected that many years later, the drug developed from this research would be so beneficial to cancer patients. The drug, called Removab, inhibits painful fluid build-up in the abdomen.
Cochlear implants greatly improve the quality of life for severely hearing-impaired people. However, understanding speech in noisy conditions remains a challenge. Scientists from the University of Leuven in Belgium and market leader Cochlear are developing software that improves signal processing in cochlear implants, enabling better speech recognition.
Although medical science has improved over the years, cancer remains a terrible disease. It often requires demanding chemotherapy. This therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat cancer, despite the severe side effects it often causes. Yet, not all tumours have a malignant nature. Early-stage breast tumours, for instance, do not always require chemotherapy. Often, hormone therapy following removal of the tumour by surgery is enough to cure the disease.
Back to Top