screenshot 2024 06 05 at 17 37 09

In many countries the care for amyloidosis patients and research into amyloidosis is centralised in national amyloidosis centers, but until recently this was lacking in Belgium. With the help of the Grand Challenges programme of VIB and together with the heamatologist Prof Michel Delforge of University Hospitals Leuven, pathologist Prof Amelie Dendooven of University Hospital Gent and the VIB proteomics core, we are now helping to establishing such a center, called BE.Amycon. This initiative aims to establish a cooperative network uniting patients, clinicians, and researchers, committed to advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and comprehension of amyloidosis.

screenshot 2024 06 05 at 17 25 09

Kidney biopsy stained with congo red, indicative of amyloid accumulation (image by Meine Ramakers & Katerina Konstantoulea)

Within this project, the Switch lab will research new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for systemic amyloidosis. Our primary focus revolves around the following points (1) Development of microfluidics-based diagnostics, (2) Identification of the sequence determinants of amyloid aggregation in light chain amyloidosis and (3) Development of innovative structure-based inhibitors to effectively stop amyloid deposition and/or drive amyloid clearance. (4) Development of inhibitors of amyloid toxcicity. By leveraging our expertise in aggregation prediction, protein and peptide design, and analysing patient-derived amyloid structures, we aim to create novel methods to predict when a light chain is amyloidogenic, and new molecules that bind to amyloid aggregates and enable both their detectiona and inhibit their growth and toxicity.

We also support and welcome the establishment of the patient organisation for amyloidosis patients in Belgium, Amybel