Innovation & Hopes for the Future

Promising innovations. 50 years after her pioneering work in clotting factors, Professor Ulla Hedner still keeps a close eye on developments in haemophilia treatment. For Henning Stennicke, Corporate Project Vice President of Novo Nordisk, the impact of Professor Hedner’s work is still felt. “A lot of the journey we have undertaken so far was really building on Ulla Hedner’s work… trying to improve on what we already have, to give better treatment for patients.”

 


Published 4 September 2019 | 3 min read
 


There is no doubt that treatment has improved greatly for people with bleeding disorders, and now there are some longer-acting clotting factors available.¹ These factors have a longer half-life, which means the factor is longer-acting in the body and therefore needs to be given less frequently.¹ As Henning knows, improvements like this can make a real difference to the lives of people living with haemophilia; “they have better access to treatment, less frequent dosing and a better quality of life.”

Henning Stennicke. Corporate Project Vice President at Novo Nordisk, Zürich

Hopes for the future

Having lived with haemophilia for over six decades, Heinz knows a thing or two about haemophilia care, and he feels positive about the future of treatment. “It’s a very fantastic period I have been living through with all these positive developments.”²

In fact, advances in treatment have opened a world of possibilities. For Heinz, travel used to be difficult; when he travelled to the US for 18 months in 1980, he had to bring 27 kilos of factor with him. But now, he says, “I have the full freedom and the whole world is open.”² Recently he went to Costa Rica — now we can’t wait to see where he goes next!

For seven-year-old Harry, who lives with haemophilia B, and his mum, Olivia, the future looks exciting. With the rapid and progressive improvements in treatment, Olivia feels happier about Harry’s future. “I think every job is open to him. Harry could pretty much achieve anything he wanted to.”³ Harry’s been working on his sporting skills, which are also helping keep his joints and muscles healthy. “When I grow up I want to be in sports. I think I might do basketball or football.”³

Expert expectations

For those that work in haemophilia care, it has been exciting to watch treatments develop. Stephanie Seremetis, Chief Medical Officer and Corporate Vice President at Novo Nordisk, has always been committed to improving outcomes. “I have always been interested in science… and really motivated to do better.” Nowhere did this feel more aligned than Novo Nordisk, “I joined Novo Nordisk and I’ve really never looked back… [they are] very focused on the patient, and on developing and providing treatments.”

Stephanie Seremetis. Corporate Project Vice President at Novo Nordisk, Zürich

Over Stephanie’s career, she has seen treatment options improve. When she first started, the simple goal was to keep people alive. Now, treatment can be more intensive, and preventative treatment is given as universally as it can. Doing so has provided options and opportunities for people living with haemophilia. Henning recognises the future impact this will have; “the ultimate aspiration for us to secure that they can live the life they desire in the long run.” He thinks the future looks bright — the treatment options we have now are a first step. “What motivates me personally, is trying to make a difference.”


References

  1. The Haemophilia Society. Understanding Haemophilia 2017. Available at: https://haemophilia.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Understanding_haemophilia_WEB.pdf [Accessed April 2019].
  2. Inspiring Change in Haemophilia: Heinz. Novo Nordisk Changing Haemophilia. Available at: https://video.novonordisk.com/video/49635758/inspiring-change-in-haemophilia [Accessed April 2019].
  3. Inspiring Change in Haemophilia: Harry and Olivia. Novo Nordisk Changing Haemophilia. Available at: https://video.novonordisk.com/video/49636013/inspiring-change-in-haemophilia-1 [Accessed April 2019].