Biomedical Health: better understanding of health and diseases

With increasing life expectancy the costs of healthcare are drastically rising, especially in the last years of life. By better understanding the biology of health and diseases, we can address the effectiveness of personalized interventions and make healthcare affordable. We help companies to develop therapies that are more personalized, less expensive and faster into patients. Currently, our focus is on methods to improve predictions of health and enhance therapeutic intervention in humans. In addition, we work on approaches to help people to take control of their own health and empower themselves.

Preventing and predicting

While one overweight individual might develop diabetes, another may not. This diversity in disease onset between different individuals depends on many factors, including lifestyle, environment, metabolism and genetic predisposition. TNO is studying the onset and development of diseases (e.g. Metabolic), in order to better predict persons at risk and to stratify patients. Measuring specific biomarkers (e.g. molecules present in blood or urine) is one of our approaches to measure health and determine health risks. In addition, TNO develops methods for stratifying people into groups based on their biological profile, which can then be used by pharmaceutical companies to develop personalized medicine.

Safe for humans and animals

We all want our food, medicines and chemicals to be safe. In order to assess the safety of these substances, tests such as animal experiments are performed, among others. TNO is constantly looking for new insights and technologies that can reduce animal experiments. For example, we currently focus on designing ‘organ-on-a-chip’ models. Based on human (stem) cells, we use these models to mimic organ functionality, with organs such as the liver, intestines and lungs. Therewith we want to increase the predictivity and translation of in vitro results to humans. In addition, we evaluate drug efficacy with microdosing, where a very small dose of the drug is introduced into the body without any risk and measured with our advanced technology. Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is used to establish whether the substance has reached the target and if it resides long enough to induce an effect.

improving therapies

In collaboration with industries, we are focused on preventing disease and improving existing therapies and treatments. We aim to improve the quality of life of the chronically ill, for example patients with diabetes. Together with the Diabetes Fonds (a Dutch non-profit organization funding diabetic research), we work on equipment for diabetic patients to non-invasively measure their blood glucose levels instead of the finger-prick test. In addition, we are developing apps and eHealth tools to support people’s behavior in preventing disease.


Our future plans include developing technologies that are applicable to preventing disease or improving the quality of life of patients. Together with pharmaceutical companies, ICT companies, diagnostic companies and health insurance companies we develop these technologies to serve the market need. We expect that more and more parties, such as the pharmaceutical and food industry, will be cooperating on disease and health issues. This collaboration will bring down the costs of health care and increase the speed of drug development as well as efficacy.

If you would like to know more about our Predictive Health Technologies and services, continue reading below or get in touch with us.


Vaccination against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

22 June 2017
A vaccine to immunise people against high levels of cholesterol and the narrowing of the arteries caused by build-up of fatty material (atherosclerosis) may be possible following successful results in... Read more

TNO congratulates VitalNext with granted patent

15 March 2017
A significant fraction of elderly in the Western world is malnourished and/or loses muscle mass, often indirectly associated with disease. This translates into a poor physical condition, longer hospitalization... Read more

New Consortium on the development of NASH Organ Function-on-a-chip model

15 February 2016
TNO (the Netherlands) recently signed an Agreement with InvitroCue Pte Ltd (“IVQ”; Singapore) and Takara Bio Europe AB (Sweden), under which they started a collaboration using different technologies to... Read more

Dr. Peter van Dijken


Dr. Peter van Dijken

  • Food
  • nutrition
  • healthy diet
  • food innovation
  • food safety

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