Guruprasad P. Aithal

University of Nottingham
TransBioLine Executive Committee member

What is your/your company current role in TransBioLine?
  • I am leading ‘drug-induced liver injury (DILI)’ work package and as a deputy co-ordinator, I am a member of the executive committee.

What is your overall vision of the Project?
  • Vision of ‘TransBioLine’ programme is to improve safety and tolerability of medications. We discover, develop, and evaluate biomarkers that assist in the identification and monitoring of drug adverse reactions affecting different organs (kidney, liver, pancreas, blood vessels and nervous system).

What have you found the most challenging/interesting during the Project?
  • The proposal is born out of an interaction between European Federation of Pharmacological Industries Association (EFPIA) and researchers (both clinicians and scientists); Innovative Medicines Initiative’s (renamed ‘Innovative Health Initiative’) investment is substantial. To align everyone’s expectations itself is a challenge, yet, it is a unique opportunity to deliver a big translational programme and have an impact on the field. Team has overcome global pandemic sized challenge; we should take heart from that.

What has been your/your company greatest achievement during the Project?
  • To have enrolled over 800 people prospectively to the DILI related studies demonstrates the strength of the collaboration. I am grateful to each person who has willingly participated in research and the labour of love from clinical academic colleagues who have continued to support the programme through and despite COVID19 pandemic.

What you consider will be the major impact of TransBioLine on the society / biomedical research area?
  • Precision medicine aims to design customised treatment plans that are safe and most effective to patients and people. Our programme focuses on one side of this coin by developing tests (biomarkers) that aid rapid diagnosis and monitoring of adverse drug reactions. TransBioLine is an exemplar for an effective interdisciplinary and international research collaboration. New biomarkers that we are developing will bring about step change in patient care.

• Do you remember any anecdotes that occurred during the Project?
  • Yes 😉 When the programme had just started, Shashi had come to Nottingham; he insisted that visit was informal. I took his word and turned up on the day underprepared. Shashi looked (as always) very relaxed during our conversation. Then, I took him to show University of Nottingham’s Nobel Laureate Peter Mansfield’s centre (Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre) and office. I have extensive collaboration with colleagues in the centre; at the time, we were developing new Magnetic Resonance spectroscopic techniques, relevant to drug-induced liver injury. However, I had not arranged any formal presentation. At lunchtime, we walked Shashi to a canteen and stood in a queue for sandwiches. I came to know later that Shashi was entertained with a grand reception and an audience with leaders when he visited another centre in the UK!

What will you keep in your memories on TransBioLine?
  • It has been the pleasure of my life to have had conversations- professional and occasionally individual, with Shashi, Sophia, Tanja, Estefania, Nathalie, and Sara almost every week. Excom meetings are earnest, yet unpretentious; these memories would be like ‘a bloom at the backyard of a remote village or a gypsy song’ (apologies for translation from Lankesh, a Kannada poet).