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Effective drug development

Research

Combining different disciplines, Leiden University researchers work together to formulate innovative solutions to societal problems. Below is an example from the field of health and wellbeing.

Overview research dossiers

Research

From molecule to drug

Fundamental and clinical knowledge is needed to develop new, groundbreaking drugs. Physicians, pharmacists, biochemists, chemists and mathematicians from Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) work closely together in the hunt for the clues and building blocks that could lead the way to new drugs. They also try to make the development process more efficient.

Drug development Watch video

Fundamental knowledge helps us understand and fight disease

Proteins play an important role in the many complex processes in the human body. Knowledge of these processes and the role of proteins in them helps us understand what goes wrong in the body when a person becomes ill. Once chemists have found out which proteins play a crucial role in certain disease processes, they are able to make small molecules that inhibit or alternatively activate these proteins. If we can ensure that these molecules work in an extremely targeted fashion, they can serve as an efficient treatment with the minimum side-effects.

Molecules as building blocks for new drugs

When chemists develop molecules that alter the function of proteins, they draw as much inspiration as possible from nature. This is because it is known that substances that occur naturally are soluble – an essential condition for medication – and that they can survive in cells without disrupting essential bodily processes. This makes the likelihood of success that much greater than with molecules that chemists develop without first knowing what properties they will have. In the next stage of the process, promising molecules are further developed into usable drugs.

Efficient drug development process

Developing suitable molecules into drugs is a process that takes years and that spans from the test tube to testing on healthy test subjects and patients. During this process scientists regularly find that a substance that seemed promising at an early stage falls by the wayside later on, because it does not work as well on living organisms or because it causes side-effects. Better predictive testing is therefore necessary to indicate at an early stage whether a certain molecule will be effective as a medication for humans. Researchers in Leiden use advanced research methods for this, such as the organ-on-a-chip technology that was developed by the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research. Another method is to test drugs on model organisms such as the zebrafish. This provides an accurate prediction of the effectiveness of drugs.

Collaboration

Leiden University and the LUMC possess knowledge of the whole chain of drug development from fundamental research into suitable molecules right up to the clinic. With the Leiden Bio Science Park just a stone’s throw away, the setting could not be more favourable to work together to make the drug development process as effective as possible.

More information:
Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research
Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Leiden University Medical Centre
Leiden Natural Products Lab
Leiden Bio Science Park

Knowledge of DNA repair in the fight against tumour cells

The DNA repair mechanism could play an important role in the fight against cancerous cells.


What is the most effective way to eliminate tumour cells? The DNA repair mechanism could play an important role in increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy in the fight against cancerous cells. If we are to influence this mechanism, we need fundamental knowledge about how the mechanism works.

Rapid DNA repair limits the effect of chemotherapy

Our DNA repair system ensures that damage to the DNA caused by outside influences, such as radiation or chemical substances, is repaired quickly. If this does not happen, damage can cause a cell to die or mutate, which could result in serious disease. Although this repair system is thus vital, it can also limit the effect of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment, because chemotherapy deliberately causes DNA damage in the hope that the cancer cells will die off. The DNA repair mechanism immediately repairs a great deal of this deliberate DNA damage, thus limiting the effect of the chemotherapy.

Unravelling the DNA repair mechanism

Haico van Attikum, a researcher at the LUMC, therefore focuses his research on unravelling the DNA repair mechanism. Once he has found out which proteins play an important role in the repair of DNA he will be able to start to look for inhibitors that block these proteins. He hopes to be able to disable part of the repair

mechanism in tumour cells by making them much more sensitive to cytostatic drugs (drugs that are used in cancer treatment).

Interface between DNA repair and transcription

In his research Attikum is now focusing on a unique aspect of the DNA repair mechanism: the point when that DNA is read by the enzyme RNA polymerase and translated into mRNA. The question is what happens when RNA-polymerase encounters damage whilst reading the DNA.

RNA polymerase (blue) produces mRNA (green) based on a DNA template (orange). © I. Splette through Wikimedia Commons.

RNA polymerase (blue) produces mRNA (green) based on a DNA template (orange). © I. Splette through Wikimedia Commons.

If it remains stuck to the DNA, the DNA repair proteins are likely to have insufficient space to repair the DNA damage. If this proves to be the case, Van Attikum and chemists in Leiden want to find specific inhibitors that ensure that the RNA polymerase remains stuck to the DNA and thus prevents DNA repair. This should make tumour cells more sensitive to the chemotherapy that damages the DNA.

The immune system in action against cervical cancer

A vaccine against cervical cancer is now being tested in clinical trials.


In the hunt for a vaccine against cervical cancer, fundamental knowledge about the immune system and organic chemistry have been brought together and have already resulted in a vaccine that is now being tested in clinical trials. Scientists are now working hard on an improved variant.

Protection from invaders

The human body possesses an immune system that protects us from hostile invaders, both from within and outside. Unfortunately, it does not always work as we would like it to. Sometimes it is too active and fights innocent invaders or the body’s own cells, whereas at other times it is not active enough. This is the case with a disease such as cancer.

Therapeutic vaccine

Researchers led by Professor Ferry Ossendorp (LUMC) have developed a vaccine that activates the immune system to make it fight the tumour cells. Their focus is cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papilloma virus. Unlike the vaccine that teenage girls are given nowadays to prevent the disease, this is not the preventative vaccine but a therapeutic vaccine. It is a form of treatment for women who already have cervical cancer, and its aim is to kill the cancer cells.

 

Successful

What is special about the vaccine is that it is a two-in-one system. It contains long proteins called peptides that are like virus peptides and evoke a specific response from the immune system.

The immune system in action against cervical cancer

Attached to these peptides are tiny molecules that activate the immune system in a controlled fashion and thus increase the effectiveness of the vaccine. The first version of this vaccine has already been successfully tested in clinical trials. ISA Pharmaceuticals, one of the companies on the Leiden Bio Science Park, will be developing it further.

Further improvement

In the meantime Professor Hermen Overkleeft from the Department of Bio-organic Chemistry and Ossendorp will continue to improve the vaccine by attaching multiple small molecules to the peptides. Immune cells are full of receptors that can recognise various small molecules. The question is whether you can activate these immune cells that bit extra if multiple small molecules (which are attached to the peptides) bind to the different receptors in the immune cells. Further research needs to be conducted to see if this works, but it is hoped that the new variant will deliver even better clinical results.

New antibiotics

Professor Gilles van Wezel seeks new forms of antibiotics.


Pathogenic bacteria are increasingly resistant to today’s antibiotics. Professor Gilles van Wezel seeks new forms of antibiotics in good bacteria that live in the soil.

Sleeping genes

Many of today’s antibiotics are made from a special type of soil bacteria, the Streptomyces. These soil bacteria produce antibiotics that keep other – harmful – bacteria away. It was thought for decades that one of the Streptomyces, the Streptomyces Coelicolor, which has been studied intensively, could produce no more than four different antibiotics. However, it has since been found that these and other Streptomyces contain small groups of antibiotic-producing genes that had not previously been observed. Most of these genes appear to be dormant under laboratory conditions.

Molecular switches

Professor of Molecular Biotechnology Gilles van Wezel and his colleagues are looking for molecules that could serve as a switch to wake these sleeping genes and thus produce new types of antibiotics. Researchers

screen libraries of chemical substances, for instance, in the hope that they will come across suitable molecules that could serve as a molecular switch to activate these genes.

Learning from nature

Van Wezel is also focusing his hunt on molecular switches in nature. He explains: ‘You can assume that there are conditions in the soil that cause the

Cultivation of Streptomyces Che1, the first stem of Strepto-myces ever isolated by Van Wezel

Cultivation of Streptomyces Che1, the first stem of Strepto-myces ever isolated by Van Wezel

bacteria to produce these sleeping antibiotics. Otherwise these genes would not have been retained so long during evolution.’ He and researchers from Leiden and Wageningen did indeed discover that plants produce a compound that causes Streptomyces to produce antibiotics when another, harmful bacteria comes in the vicinity of the plant. The molecule that the plant produces is thus such a molecular switch. They are now further researching how this can be applied.

Technology with wide range of applications

The study of natural processes in Streptomyces has already resulted in a number of very promising new compounds for new antibiotics. Van Wezel believes that the technology could have a wide range of applications: ‘Streptomyces produce various different compounds to defend themselves from higher organisms like fungi and worms. These could form the basis of all sorts of drugs. Various anti-tumour drugs also come from Streptomyces, for instance. I think that you are much more likely to find completely new substances if you take this route than if you screen a general library of chemical substances. This approach works.’

Streptomyces bacteria originate in the ground.  Colourful colonies are isolated, in this case using a sky-blue antibiotic. The colonies are tested in a petri dish for antibiotic activity (shown by the clear areas), after which the antibiotic is isolated and tested. Finally, the antibiotic is produced on a larger scale ready for further analysis.

Streptomyces bacteria originate in the ground. Colourful colonies are isolated, in this case using a sky-blue antibiotic. The colonies are tested in a petri dish for antibiotic activity (shown by the clear areas), after which the antibiotic is isolated and tested. Finally, the antibiotic is produced on a larger scale ready for further analysis.

New techniques for tuberculosis treatment

Research into new treatment for tuberculosis has received fresh stimulus.


About nine million people worldwide contract tuberculosis each year. Research into new treatment for this disease has received fresh stimulus with more efficient techniques and a new understanding of how the tuberculosis bacteria works.

New medication

The tuberculosis bacteria is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Molecular cell biologist Herman Spaink is therefore seeking new drugs to fight these bacteria. He is researching how the tuberculosis bacteria works and how to stop the disease. Spaink: ‘People with TB suffer from rapid weight loss, which is one of the first symptoms of the disease. Thanks to our research we now know that this is because the bacteria influence a specific gene. This enables the bacteria to disrupt the human metabolism. We want to use medication to protect this specific gene.’

Zebrafish

Molecules are the building blocks for new drugs. When molecules are found that could potentially fight tuberculosis they need to be tested. The zebrafish is an ideal model organism for this research. The immune system of the zebrafish responds in the same way to the tuberculosis bacteria as the human immune system

does, which makes for a more accurate prediction of whether a drug will work in humans than with other models. Furthermore, the zebrafish has a fast reproductive cycle and its embryos develop rapidly. The most important organs have already formed within 24 hours and the young fish hatch out of the egg within three days. As the young fish, which still look like embryos, are small and transparent, they can easily be studied under a microscope, making it easy to follow the development and progression of tuberculosis.

Efficient techniques

The purchase of a robot that can inject a large number of zebrafish embryos with the TB bacteria

Two days old larvae of zebrafish © Jürgen Berger and Mahendra Sonawane, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Two days old larvae of zebrafish © Jürgen Berger and Mahendra Sonawane, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

at the same time has given a huge boost to Spaink’s research. Previously the bacteria needed to be manually injected into the zebrafish embryos. This was very labour intensive and thus delayed the part of the research that involved testing new drugs. The automation of the injection process has enabled Spaink’s team to work much faster and more efficiently. Furthermore, robots and automatic recognition of microscopic images have recently made it possible to test the effect of new drugs on zebrafish embryos at an exceedingly rapid rate. Spaink hopes that with these new methods he will soon discover new drugs that work against TB, a disease that affects a third of the world’s population.

Searching for disease indicators in healthy people

LUMC researchers are looking for factors that point to illness at an early stage.


Prevention is better than cure. In order to be able to predict who will become ill, LUMC researchers are looking for factors that point in this direction at an early stage. The Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study is following nearly 7,000 overweight patients in order to identify predicting factors in their blood for the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, osteoarthritis and lung disease. The first research results were published recently.

Nearly half of the Dutch adult population falls within the overweight range. This is associated with health risks, including an increased risk of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is unclear why some overweight people develop a chronic disease while others do not. This also makes timely intervention difficult in people who are at high risk, especially since they form such a substantial population.

Vials for blood extracted from test subjects.

Vials for blood extracted from test subjects.


‘We did what could not be done’

To investigate this further, the LUMC launched the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study in 2008 under the leadership of Professor Frits Rosendaal. In the first four years, Rosendaal and his colleagues examined nearly 7,000 patients from the Leiden region, most of whom fell within the overweight range (BMI of 27 or higher).

Rosendaal explains: ‘What was remarkable was that we examined these people in great detail. Usually, with such large groups, researchers only take blood samples and ask the subjects to complete some questionnaires. We carried out an extensive examination of each patient that took about four hours and included an MRI scan, a lung function test, a cardiogram and a nutritional test. Nothing like this had ever been done before. We did what could not be done.’ What is also remarkable is that these are healthy people whose entire health profile is being monitored, together with the potential development of any condition. ‘This is an investment that allows us to create a treasure trove of data,’ he says enthusiastically.

Life-long study

‘Ideally we would like to follow these people throughout their life. Last year we did a follow-up via the participants’ GPs to find out which ones had become ill. We may ask people to return for a more extensive examination at some point, but that depends on funding. We hope that we will also be able to observe the effects of changes over time.’

In the documentary ‘Why me?’ professor Frits Rosendaal and his colleagues give insight in how they work as ‘medical detectives’ in their search for the causes of diseases. The film focuses on the NEO study. Complete version 'Why me?' (35 minutes)

 

Having fat around your organs is bad

The study has been going for a number of years, so the first results are coming in. One of the discoveries is that our health depends on where exactly fat is stored: just under the skin or around the organs. The two look the same from the outside. ‘We can use the MRI scans to determine the distribution of fat. It turns out that people with fat 

Some people store fat just under the skin, others deeper around the organs.

Some people store fat just under the skin, others deeper around the organs.

around their organs suffer more frequently from reduced insulin sensitivity, which is an early form of diabetes.’

New therapy

Ultimately, Rosendaal hopes to be able to establish many more such links. ‘Nearly all diseases occur more frequently in people who are overweight. This is not something that we really understand at this point. It looks as though all illnesses start out in the same way, and in this study we hope to discover whether this is indeed the case. This knowledge can then be used to develop new therapies and drugs.’

A vaccine against thickened artery walls

People suffering from atherosclerosis have to take medicine all their lives.


Atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery wall) is the most common cause of heart attacks or strokes, and one of the most common causes of death in the western world. People with this condition have to take medicine all their lives, so a vaccine for atherosclerosis would be a breakthrough.

Containing the inflammation response

In cases of atherosclerosis the inside of the blood vessel becomes clogged with cholesterol from the blood, caused by an excess of cholesterol in the blood. At the place where the blockage

Sectional of a thickened artery wall

Sectional of a thickened artery wall

develops, white blood cells force their way into the wall of the blood vessel and cause inflammation, so in a way atherosclerosis is an exaggerated defensive reaction against the body’s own tissue. Johan Kuiper, Professor of Therapeutic Immunomodulation, has been awarded a large European grant for a project that aims to use a vaccine to contain or even prevent the inflammation response. A vaccine against infection by a bacterium or virus is directed at making the immune system more alert and aims to prepare for a strong defensive reaction. That happens by stimulating the production of immune cells of a certain type (CD8+ T-cells) that attack that one specific intruder.

However, vaccination can also lead to a situation where the immune system does not react to something that would normally cause an inflammation response. Kuiper’s vaccine stimulates the production of another kind of immune cells (CD4+ T-cells) that have a reduced effect on inflammations. These T-cells recognise the body’s own proteins in the wall of the blood vessel and reduce the auto-immune reaction to these proteins.

Taking pills for life could be a thing of the past

In the most favourable case, a vaccine against atherosclerosis would only have to be administered a few times, after which the body has long-term protection. That is a much more positive outlook than a life of taking medicine to keep the cholesterol content of the blood down – something that more than a million Dutch people do at the moment.

Making the most of the first time a medicine is administered to humans

Collecting as much information as possible about administering a new medicine to people can save a lot of money.


Collecting as much information as possible about administering a new medicine to people can save a lot of money in the further development of a medicine and increase the safety for patients. Moreover, it quickly becomes clear if a promising substance does not in fact make a suitable medicine. The Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) in Leiden has developed methods to reach these goals.

How do you measure the desirable and undesirable effects of a potential new medicine using healthy volunteers and patients? How do you translate the available knowledge from the laboratory to safe and informative experiments with human test subjects? Which measurements, tests or scans provide the most trustworthy information? This is the sort of question that CHDR’s clinical pharmacologists are looking to answer. Medicines are tested here on 

a daily basis, usually commissioned by sponsors from the pharmaceutical industry but also very often in collaboration with researchers from LUMC and Leiden University. In the past, new medicines were only developed by the pharmaceutical industry, but a growing number of medicines are being developed directly in the LUMC.

'Painful' tests

CHDR researches medicines for various complaints and illnesses: from pain to dementia, from multiple sclerosis to heart disease and vascular conditions, from psychiatric disorders to thrombosis. A new medicine is usually tested first on healthy volunteers. Even though they are not ill and have no pain, focused tests can still yield a lot of useful information. It then becomes clear whether the medicine reaches the place where it needs to work (for example, the brain), and various effects can also be identified, for example if the test subject becomes less alert after taking the medicine. With imaging techniques such as PET scans and MRI it is possible to see where the medicine ends up, and whether it causes changes. In order to measure the effect of a painkiller, the CHDR has a number of ‘painful’ tests, such as alternating heat and cold. The clinical pharmacologists also check at intervalsto see if there is a connection between changes in the test subject and the concentration of the medicine in the blood. If that change (for example pain relief, or a side effect such as dizziness) becomes more noticeable as the amount of medicine increases, it is probably an effect of that medicine.

Healthy or ill test subjects

In recent years CHDR has done more and more research with patients, and there is room enough for that in the new building in the Leidse BioScience Park, where the whole of the top floor is dedicated to healthy or ill test subjects. Studies are sometimes also conducted with patients in the LUMC or the VUmc in Amsterdam. In all cases the studies are concerned with small numbers of patients, who are monitored to see whether the new medicine can live up to its promise in any way. CHDR focuses mainly on these early phases of the development of new medicines, although over the last few years the research institute in Leiden has also conducted comparative studies with hundreds of patients. Such a large study is a significant investment for pharmaceutical companies, so it is a great advantage if, thanks to the research at CHDR, it becomes clear at an early stage if a promising substance is not appropriate after all, or if a better estimate can be made of the safest and most effective dose. For patients the benefit is just as clear: an effective treatment with as few side effects as possible.

More info:
www.chdr.nl (English)
www.proefpersoon.nl (Dutch)

Experts

Scientists working in this multidisciplinary research area

  • Dr. Haico van Attikum
  • Prof. dr. Joke Bouwstra
  • Prof. dr. Jaap Brouwer
  • Prof. dr. Adam Cohen
  • Prof. dr. Peter ten Dijke
  • Prof. dr. Miranda van Eck
  • Prof. dr. Piet Hein van der Graaf
  • Prof. dr. Henk Jan Guchelaar
  • Prof. dr. Thomas Hankemeier
  • Dr. Jan den Hartigh
  • Prof. dr. Catherijne Knibbe
  • Prof.dr. Johan Kuiper
  • Prof. dr. Gijs van der Marel
  • Prof. dr. ir. Silvere van de Maarel
  • Prof. dr. Huib Ovaa
  • Prof. dr. Ferry Ossendorp
  • Prof. dr. Hermen Overkleeft
  • Prof. dr. Frits Rosendaal
  • Dr. Kirsten Schimmel
  • Prof. dr. Herman Spaink
  • Dr. Jesse Swen
  • Dr. Mario van der Stelt
  • Prof. dr. Hans Tanke
  • Dr. Marcel Tijsterman
  • Prof. dr. Marcellus Ubbink
  • Prof. dr. Bob van de Water
  • Prof. dr. Gilles van Wezel
  • Prof. dr. Ad IJzerman
  • Dr. Maarten Zandvliet

Dr. Haico van AttikumAssociate Professor Human Genetics

Topics: DNA repair pathways, RNA, genetics, tumors

+31 (0)71 526 9624

Prof. dr. Joke BouwstraProfessor of Drug Delivery

Topics: Drug delivery into and across the skin

+31 (0)71 527 4208

Prof. dr. Jaap Brouwer Professor of Molecular Genetics

Topics: Molecular Genetics, scientific director Leiden Institute of Chemistry

+31 (0)71 527 4755

Prof. dr. Adam CohenProfessor of Clinical Pharmacology

Topics: Centre for Human Drug Research, human testing of drugs

+31 71 524 6400

Prof. dr. Peter ten DijkeProfessor of Molecular Cell Biology

Topics: Tumorcells, bone formation, ageing

+31 (0)71 527 9270

Prof. dr. Miranda van EckProfessor of Cardio Vascular and Metabolic Therapeutics

Topics: Macrophage genes, artherosclerosis, cholesterol

+31 (0)71 527 6238

Prof. dr. Piet Hein van der GraafProfessor of Systems Pharmacology

Topics: Pharmacology, scientific director Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research

+31 (0)71 527 4341

Prof. dr. Henk Jan GuchelaarProfessor of Clinical Pharmacology

Topics: Pharmacy, cancer, reumathology

+31 (0)71 526 3975

Prof. dr. Thomas HankemeierProfessor of Analytical Biosciences

Topics: Metabolomics, organ-on-a-chip, organs

+31 (0)71 527 4226

Dr. Jan den HartighHead Department of Farmaceutical Quality Control & Bioanalysis

Topics: Hospital Pharmacist, drug research in lab

+31 (0)71 526 2755/ 5185/ 3975

Prof. dr. Catherijne KnibbeProfessor of Fundamentals of Individual Pharmacology

Topics: Dosing schemes, children’s medicine, pharmocology

+31 (0)71 527 6276

Prof.dr. Johan KuiperProfessor of Therapeutic Immunomodulation

Topics: Atherosclerosis, immune cells, vaccin

+31 (0)71 527 4378

Prof. dr. Gijs van der MarelProfessor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Topics: Immune system, nucleic acids, peptides, carbohydrates

+31 (0)71 527 4280

Prof. dr. ir. Silvere van de MaarelProfessor of Medical Epigenetics

Topics: Human genome, muscular dystrohpy, disease mechanisms, epigenetics

+31 (0)71 526 9480

Prof. dr. Huib OvaaProfessor in Chemical Biology

Topics: Early diagnosis of cancer, cancer treatment, biochemical processes related to cancer

+31 (0)71 527 4339

Prof. dr. Ferry OssendorpProfessor of Vaccine Biology

Topics: Immune system, vaccination, tumors. infectious diseases

+31 (0)71 526 3800

Prof. dr. Hermen OverkleeftProfessor of Bio-organic Synthesis

Topics: Bio-organic chemistry, immunology

+31 (0)71 527 4342

Prof. dr. Frits RosendaalHead of Department Clinical Epidemyology

Topics: Thrombosis, cardiac conditions, cerebral infarctions, cerebral haemorrhages. NEO-study

+31 (0)71 526 4037

Dr. Kirsten SchimmelHead of Pharmaceutical Development & Drug Preparation

Topics: Hospital pharmacist

+31 (0)71 5262612

Prof. dr. Herman SpainkProfessor of Molecular Cell Biology

Topics: Communication of cells, microbes, disease models, tuberculosis

+31 (0)71 527 5055

Dr. Jesse SwenAssociate Professor of Pharmacogenetics

Topics: Personalized medicine, hospital pharmacist, pharmacogenetics, drug response and DNA.

+31 (0)71 526 6125

Dr. Mario van der SteltAssociate Professor in Medicinal Chemistry

Topics: Medicinal chemistry, medical marihuana, chemical biology, drug discovery

+31 (0)71 527 4768

Prof. dr. Hans TankeProfessor of Molecular Cell Biology

Topics: Cells, chromosomes, inherited disease, acquired disease, point-of-care testing, drug monitoring

+31 (0)71 526 9201

Dr. Marcel TijstermanProfessor of Genome Stability

Topics: DNA-repair, genetic mutations, evolution, cancer

+ 31 (0)71 526 9669

Prof. dr. Marcellus UbbinkProfessor of Protein Chemistry

Topics: Proteins, proteine interactions, enzymes

+31 (0)71 527 4628

Prof. dr. Bob van de WaterProfessor of Drug Safety Sciences

Topics: Drug safety

+31 (0)71 527 6223

Prof. dr. Gilles van Wezel Professor of Molecular Biotechnology

Topics: Antibiotics and resistence, molecular microbiology, microbial interactions in the soil, molecular switches, genomics

+31 (0)71 527 4310

Prof. dr. Ad IJzermanProfessor of Medicinal Chemistry

Topics: Molecular mechanisms of drug action

+31 (0)71 527 4651

Dr. Maarten ZandvlietHospital pharmacist, head of Interdivisional GMP Facility

Topics: Development and production of: cell therapy, gene therapy, cancer immune therapy, synthetical vaccins, fluorescent dyes

+31 (0)71 5264177

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Science at the heart of society

Our research extends further than the academic world alone. Our researchers share their knowledge in schools and museums, at events and via accessible public symposiums. In this way they bring science into the heart of society.

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Students learn directly from our researchers

Multidisciplinary research plays an integral part in the programmes in biomedical and biopharmaceutical sciences, as it does in the biology, chemistry and life and molecular science and technology programmes. Lecturers in these programmes frequently draw on the wealth of knowledge and experience available in Leiden on drugs research. The Leiden Futurelab is a platform for a new postgraduate programme in drug development. The programme gives graduates a thorough training for a career in management in the Life Sciences and Health sector.

Fundamental research Watch video

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