Our work

Prevention of chronic disease: understanding, monitoring and implementing interventions

TNO works on the reduction of chronic diseases in the multidisciplinary programme Prevention 2.0. The aim is to develop, together with partners, innovative interventions based on new insights into biological and behavioural processes that contribute to the prevention of illness and a longer healthy life.

At the end of 2018, the Dutch government and more than 70 NGOs drew up the National Prevention Agreement, which contains more than 200 agreements to make the Netherlands healthier. TNO set up the Prevention 2.0 programme to tie in with this agreement.

"We want to contribute to the mission of enabling people to live healthier for longer by reducing chronic diseases and supporting healthy development early in life. In doing this, we pay special attention to groups of a lower social status. In this programme, we focus in particular on the role of metabolic and immunological health in the course of chronic diseases, such as COPD/asthma and diabetes/overweight," says Ric van Tol, who runs the programme.

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COMBINING BIOLOGICAL & SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESSES

The objective of Prevention 2.0 is twofold:

  • Understanding and measuring biological processes underlying the development of disease;
  • Developing effective strategies for (behavioural) intervention and implementation.

To achieve this, we integrate biomedical research and sensor technology with appropriate intervention and implementation strategies for the specific target groups. For example, we investigate how diet and lifestyle are associated with metabolism, immunity and our microbiome in the development of disease. And we focus on remote monitoring of health and disease using innovative biosensors.

FORECASTING USING DATA AND MODELS

One of our clinical partners, who specialises in treating patients with COPD, will employ a (wearable) health patch developed by TNO to monitor various vital functions of patients in a non-invasive manner. In the future it may be possible to determine at an early stage whether and when infection or disease flares up and to take early action. In addition, there is the Obesity Screener project, for example, in which growth charts of young children can be used to better predict the risk of obesity. This tool can also be used by the youth healthcare services (JGZ).

EFFECTIVE MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH

"In order to achieve a sustainable change in health and lifestyle, we integrate biomedical, medical-technological and behavioural research to achieve implementations for the specific target groups," Van Tol explains. The current Covid-19 pandemic has made us all the more aware of the need for such an approach. Prevention 2.0 is a broad and cross-domain programme in which experts from different units within TNO work together."

"But it is our express intention to roll out this programme together with relevant stakeholders; from government, knowledge institutes, patient associations and health insurers to industrial partners. Partners who want to work with us to understand the underlying biological processes and monitor the risk of disease using non-invasive technology, to implement adequate interventions."

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Dr. Ric van Tol

  • Nutrition in Health/Disease
  • Industrial Research/Innovation
  • Gastrointestinal Immunity

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