Nordic Bioscience is a partner in the DevelopAKUre consortium. Nordic Bioscience is a Danish biotechnology company that specialises in biomarker research. They develop tools to measure specific substances in blood and urine. These substances are indicative of a disease, when present above a certain level in the body.They can also be used to trace the efficacy of a treatment, if they, for example, lower following the administration of a drug. In this week’s blog they tell us about their role in the DevelopAKUre trial. Our company has three main divisions:
In the Biomarker and Research division, we are divided into three main groups; the 'Bone', the 'Cartilage' and the 'Fibrosis' groups. We all study molecules that come from the extracellular matrix, which is the substance that surrounds the cells of all our organs and that constitute connective tissues such as cartilage, the main component of our joints.
We are specifically interested in the turnover of these molecules, that is how fast the old connective tissue is degraded and the new connective tissue is formed. Turnover of the connective tissue is a normal process in the human body, and all our organs are renewed during our life, some more frequently than others. However, during a disease this turnover can become altered, and connective tissue produced in excess can substitute the normal tissue in an organ. This is the case of fibrosis, which can lead to the loss of the affected organ.
In alkaptonuria, the accumulation of the ochronotic pigment happens especially in the joints, triggering symptoms that are similar to osteoarthritis. The turnover of the cartilage in the ochronotic joints is altered compared to a normal joint, and with our biomarkers we can see which molecules coming from the cartilage, the bone or other connective tissues are elevated in alkaptonuric patients.
We can therefore measure non-invasively what happens in the joints in real time, and we can detect which biomarkers change after the treatment with nitisinone. This allows us to establish the benefit that the treatment has on the health of the joints. Since the ochronotic pigment is accumulated in the connective tissues, this project is a bridge between rheumatology and fibrosis.
The main drivers of this project at Nordic Bioscience are Dr. Federica G., who is a fibrosis expert, Dr. Anne-Christine B-J., who leads the rheumatology research at Nordic Bioscience, and Kishwar M., who takes care of the measurements and makes sure that the results that come out from the lab are the most accurate and reliable possible. Together we can contribute to finding a cure for alkaptonuria, and to understanding more and more about this rare disease.
DevelopAKUre is a series of major international clinical trials, run by a consortium of 12 European partners. It aims to study a potential new drug, called nitisinone, and assess its potential effectiveness in treating the rare disease, alkaptonuria (AKU).
DevelopAKUre is co-funded by a grant from the European Commission. This website is run by a UK patient group, the AKU Society. Learn more about AKU on the AKU Society's What is AKU page.
In today’s blog Chief investigator Prof. Ranganath reinforces the need for SONIA 2 pat.. ...more