• What Impact can Handling of Protein Drugs have on Efficacy?
    Giorgia De Paoli

News & Views

What Impact can Handling of Protein Drugs have on Efficacy?

Jun 17 2021

As part of an international effort to  ensure protein drugs such as insulin and monoclonal antibodies work as effectively as possible, the University of Dundee’s MEMO Research unit has been awarded £500,000 to participate in RealHOPE (Real handling of protein drugs), a four-year, €3.1 million project, led by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

“By including patients, carers, scientists, healthcare professionals and distributors, and by working all together in different parts of the world, we will empower groups, institutions and companies to ensure better, safer and more sustainable use of protein drugs.” – Giorgia De Paoli.

Starting from July, the RealHOPE consortium will bring together 24 international partners including academics, companies, research institutes, patient organisations and pharmaceutical industry partners from across Europe and the US to work with pharmacists, doctors, nurses, distributors, patients and carers to compare what really happens with what should happen during drug handling stages; used in the treatment of severe and life-threatening diseases,  improper handling of protein drugs may result in degradation, with accompanying changes in how they work.

The project will also evaluate how sub-optimal storage/transport conditions affect the chemical/physical behavior of these medicines and engage with the education of all the stakeholders involved around the distribution, preparation and use of these drugs to guarantee their stability and efficacy.

Funded by the Innovative Medicine Initiative, Dundee’s MEMO Research team, Dr Giorgia De Paoli, Professor Tom MacDonald and Professor Isla Mackenzie will lead one of the five work packages of RealHOPE.

Dr De Paoli said, “I am extremely proud of leading this project and representing the University of Dundee in this international consortium, which will help to change the way we do research. This project will improve our knowledge on how to best handle these precious medicines. “By including patients, carers, scientists, healthcare professionals and distributors, and by working all together in different parts of the world, we will empower groups, institutions and companies to ensure better, safer and more sustainable use of protein drugs.” – Giorgia De Paoli.

Potential for new technologies

As well as achieving improved and tailored training for patients, healthcare professionals and all stakeholders handling protein drugs, there will be potential for new technologies that will guarantee consistency and stability in transportation, storage preparation, and administration of the different protein drug products. Revision of current guidelines and regulations or implementation emphasizing less waste and better use of the drugs new ones will also be established by collaboration with the major medicine agencies and regulatory bodies at national and international level.  

Professor Tom MacDonald added, “This is a prestigious and highly competitive award of grant funding to study an extremely important aspect of modern therapeutics. The MEMO Research team has achieved this in the face of intense competition and we are very proud to be part of this research programme.”

Further information on MEMO Research, an academic unit based in Ninewells Hospital at the University of Dundee can be found online


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