Medical Research Laboratory is affiliated with Faculty of Health, Aarhus University, but localized at Aarhus University Hospital, next to Department of Endocrinology. Medical Research Laboratory hosts translational research initiated by doctors at Department of Endocrinology.
One of the major research areas of Medical Research Laboratory is to improve the biochemical tests for growth hormone (GH) disorders. This is achieved through the development of novel assays for GH and its major downstream mediator, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). The first validated methods for free, unbound IGF-I, bioactive IGF-I and free, unbound GH all originate from research performed at our research laboratory (Frystyk 2012). In addition, these novel assays have been used to elucidate the mechanisms that control the activity of the GH - IGF-I axis. As part of these projects, ongoing studies in malignant and non-malignant ascites, pleural effusions and lymph have yielded evidence that the activity of the IGF-system as measured in vitro may in fact be higher outside than inside the blood stream (Jeyaratnaganthan 2010; Espelund 2012). The importance of this finding is currently undergoing investigations as many tumours are surrounded by fluids such as ascites or pleural effusions.
Another aspect of research within assay development is the search for novel circulating biomarkers for diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and late diabetic complications. By the use of blood-borne biomarkers it may be possible to predict the individual risk for certain diseases over time. Such knowledge may be used to tailor treatment according to an individuals' risk marker profile. An example of a protein being identified as a biomarker is mannose-binding lectin (MBL), which in patients with type 2 diabetes can provide prognostic information on mortality and the development of albuminuria (Hansen 2006). Another example is the use of plasma levels of Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) as a prognostic marker of the mortality and future cardiovascular events in patients with acute myocardial infarction (Lindberg 2012). Identification of novel biomarkers is dependent on the access to large and well-characterized biobanks and clinical databases. Accordingly, Medical Research Laboratory has now commenced a biobank project which over the next couple of years will allow the laboratory to serve as a biobank center for internal as well as external collaborators.