Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Towards a dual-biomarker blood test for diagnosing intestinal ischemia

Development and evaluation of a dual-biomarker blood test for the diagnosis of intestinal ischemia in patients

Intestinal ischemia occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the gastrointestinal system slows or stops and may cause severe intestinal damage, loss of function, and loss of viable tissue (intestinal infarction). The condition has many potential causes, including a blocked artery due to a blood clot or low blood pressure due to shock.

Together, consortium partners Maastricht University and Hycult Biotech designed this project to build a new blood test that can diagnose intestinal ischemia patients with a high degree of certainty.

A severe shortage of blood supply to the gastrointestinal system causes irreversible damage in the intestine and can ultimately result in death. To improve the chances of recovery and preserve intestinal tissue, it is crucial to recognise early symptoms and speed up diagnosis, enabling proper treatment such as immediate surgery. Despite recent medical developments, the diagnosis remains challenging and frequently comes too late. This is because physical examination and blood tests show few abnormalities in the early stages, and the symptoms are often not specific.

This project describes the development of a test that can reliably measure two substances that are released from the damaged intestine into the blood of patients suffering from intestinal ischemia. Analysing these substances in the patient's blood is expected to provide information about the severity of the condition, as well as the need to start immediate surgery. A rapid diagnosis and treatment will lead to a better chance of survival and a better quality of life for the patient.

This project lays the foundation for the first clinical laboratory test in the blood of patients enabling the diagnosis of intestinal ischemia.