Innovation Skåne

Easier to discover alcohol abuse

Knowledge of patients’ health over time can lead to better care. Therefore, Anders Andersson and Anders Isaksson have developed a new idea to identify alcohol abuse over time, in cooperation with Innovation Skåne. The possibilities have existed before, but new methods can make the analyses easier and more accessible.

In 1983 the so-called PEth molecules were discovered, which are only formed in connection with alcohol consumption. This means that researchers were able to develop methods of analysis for the detection of regular alcohol consumption. With the analyses it is now easier to detect alcohol related causes of patients’ symptoms and illnesses in healthcare.

– Since PEth was introduced into healthcare, the number of analyses has increased by 20 to 30 per cent a year in Skåne alone. This means that healthcare professionals are increasingly gaining access to more objective knowledge of the patient and are thus in a better position to understand the symptoms and initiate the correct treatment sooner, says Anders Isaksson, who is Associate Doctor at Labmedicin Skåne.

An inspiring collaboration

Good ideas often come about in good company. When the PEth molecule was discovered, chemical analyst Anders Andersson was already working with Anders Isaksson at Labmedicin Skåne in Lund. They became interested in PEth at an early stage, but it would take about 20 years after the molecules were discovered before they jointly began developing methods of analysis. At that point, they had long enjoyed a good climate of cooperation for hatching ideas in dialogue form, says Anders Andersson.

– It’s important to have someone to bounce your ideas off, Anders Andersson continues.

Together Anders and Anders started to develop methods that simplified the management of the PEth analyses. The goal was to find more effective methods that could be made available to more laboratories. This in turn can lead to less suffering for patients, more efficient care and reduced costs for society.

– We had an idea of what we wanted to do, but it required more time and money to move forward, says Anders Andersson.

Together with Innovation Skåne

When Anders and Anders got in touch with Innovation Skåne and described their idea, what was to become a fruitful collaboration was initiated.

– It was amazing. We quickly received assistance. Our place is in the lab, it is what we do best and it is where we thrive. In the patent area, however, we were novices, says Anders Andersson.

Innovation Skåne has also been able to provide assistance in the development work.

– In order to develop our methods, we needed certain custom made substances, but neither of us are organic chemists. We received help from Innovation Skåne on that part as well, says Anders Isaksson.

Company develops the new methods

In cooperation with Innovation Skåne, they have currently developed and applied for several patents e.g. for improved methods of analysis for identifying dangerous alcohol consumption. The company Redhot Diagnostics has bought the rights to several patents with the aim of developing the methods to produce a product that can be used primarily in healthcare, but possibly also in other areas.

– It is great that the method now is being developed and disseminated so that it will be of benefit to others, says Anders Isaksson.

International recognition

In addition, an article regarding the discovery that Anders Andersson, Anders Isaksson and Innovation Skåne’s David Wensbo Posaric made was published in the well-renowned international journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. The article was published in the journal in July 2014 and described the discovery, its’ usefulness and the scientific foundation for the solution. Read the article in full here.

On 18 May 2018 Anders Isaksson was interviews in the American journal The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine’s podcast, listen to the interview here or here (direct link).

Read more about how Innovation Skåne works with ideas from Region Skåne employees