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Commercializing a diagnostic technology gave added benefits to researchers

Accurate and fast methods of diagnosis have a great importance in the treatment of cancer. Associate Professor Jørn Koch has been researching novel methods for use in diagnosis for more than 20 years. In 2004 he started working with then PhD students Magnus Stougaard and Jakob Lohmann to develop this research into specific work methods and diagnostic technologies. “I think it is important that the science gets out there and is made useful,” says Jørn Koch.

One of the resulting technologies enables more accurate tissue sampling and could after further development show the results of chemotherapy after days instead of weeks or months.

Today, doctors and medical staff have to examine thousands of cells at once if, for instance, they are looking for signs of cancer. The new method takes much smaller samples by rolling a RNA string around the cell and then scales the sample up to a size where it can be examined and changes can be spotted right away.

In 2006 the spinout company In Situ RCP was formed by the inventors and NOVI Innovation to commercialise the technology developed by the three researchers. The company will further develop the technology from a genetic method to an application tailored for individualised anti-cancer treatments. The fact that the university owns the intellectual property rights covering some of the technology has not been a problem for Jakob Lohmann. Inventors are always entitled to a share of the university’s income. “You shouldn’t be doing this for the money, but in order to learn something and get more focused in your work. Of course I dreamt about money at first, but then you find out how much is needed for development by the investors to turn research into reality” says Jakob Lohmann and explains. “For me, the important thing has been to take part in board meetings and business negotiations in order to get an insight into a world that I knew nothing about. At the same time, it is amazing to see your research be put to use”.

Photo by Lars Kruse/AU-foto

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Revideret 02.12.2015