Health Economics and Evidence Synthesis - a new research unit at LIH
Since July 2015, Prof Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala is head of the newly created Health Economics and Evidence Synthesis Research Unit (HEESRU) at LIH’s Department of Population Health. HEESRU aims at developing and promoting the application of state-of-the-art economic methods to improve health and healthcare in Luxembourg.
Prof Kandala, who previously worked as an Associate Professor in Health Technology Assessment at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick, took the challenge of developing a solid research programme in health economics in Luxembourg with a focus on personalised medicine.
‘HEESRU will provide research expertise to support Luxembourg’s health sector developments’, states Prof Kandala. ‘It shall advice the Government in assessing new health technologies, fill evidence gaps regarding major health issues and help to render the national healthcare system more cost-effective.’ For this, he works in close collaboration with Prof Andrea Manca from the Centre for Health Economics of the University of York (UK) and Prof Maarten Ijzerman from the University of Twente (NL). He will also soon build his team at LIH with the recruitment of two postdoctoral researchers and further recruitments will follow in the coming years.
‘We are currently applying for funding for a number of research projects.’ tells Prof Kandala. ‘To give an example, one of the potential projects consists in collecting evidence about breast cancer treatments. Using published literature of clinical trials and data from the National Cancer Registry, we aim to investigate the efficacy and safety of treatment options for patients with severe breast cancer, so-called HER2-positive patients’, he explains. HER2 (human epidermal growth factor 2) is a cell growth-promoting protein that is overproduced in about 20% of patients and renders breast tumours more aggressive. The project intends to identify the most efficient and safest treatment to improve the outcome for these patients.
Next to his research activities, Prof Kandala was appointed as full professor at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon-Tyne (UK) in September 2015. ‘I teach Medical Statistics and Research Methods at Master and Undergraduate level at Northumbria University and also supervise the projects of Master trainees and PhD candidates’, he tells.
Prof Kandala holds further strong links with the Northumbria University through a collaboration aiming at building capacity in biostatistics in developing countries. The research programme ‘Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science’ (DELTAS) he is one of the principal investigators of, is supported by a 5-year grant from the Wellcome Trust (2016-2021).