Frank Cools

Scientist, Translational Sciences


I started my career as a lab technician – executing in-vitro and in-vivo experiments regarding the renal function - at the dept. of nephrology and hypertension at the University of Antwerp. Since almost 30 years I am working at Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse, first as an associate scientist and now as a scientist.
The first 15 years at Janssen, I have spent most of my time developing and executing in-vitro studies on gastrointestinal and cardiovascular preparations. Subsequently, when cardiovascular safety became a hot issue, I started focusing on in-vivo CV models, especially on telemetry models.

My rather long career in research gives me the chance to compare how data were "recorded and processed" in the early days and how it works now.
Until 15 years ago data collection was a manual affair: in-vitro pharmacology was a question of counting units on graphical paper while avoiding to spread the ink with your fingers. Data processing was a matter of working efficiently with a calculator and having some artistic skills in drawing graphs with colored pencils.
So, for understandable efficiency needs a few companies came up with their software packages.

NOTOCORD-hem software running at Janssen, Belgium

This was my first contact with NOTOCORD® and I was impressed how, compared to present standards, small data sets were handled fast and efficiently. Later, while moving over to cardiovascular safety pharmacology, I learned that NOTOCORD-hem™ software was capable of recording and processing lots of data at once.
On top of that, the link with Microsoft Excel® made it possible to use all the computational, statistical and graphical features of that software. When the decision was made to implement the telemetered animal model as a necessary step in safety assessment of test compounds there was no doubt to use the NOTOCORD-hem™ software.

Nowadays all our animal models are running with NOTOCORD-hem™ Evolution software:

  • telemetered dogs (Konigsberg, ITS telemetry implants) with the possibility to measure cardiovascular and ECG parameters, body temperature, activity and all the derived parameters from 6 dogs at once;
  • telemetered small animals: rabbits, guinea pigs and rats (DSI™ telemetry implants) with the possibility to record and process ECG and/or blood pressure, activity and body temperature from 8 animals at once.

Flexibility, but also accuracy, perfect traceability and uniformity of output made our management choose NOTOCORD-hem™ software not only for the conscious telemetered animal models but also for in-vitro set-ups and anesthetized animal models.

Because of the availability of long term high quality ECG recordings, a few years ago we started with the manual scanning of full 24h ECG recordings, which resulted in new insights in incidences and frequencies of different types of arrhythmias. To apply this experience in arrhythmia incidences on safety studies, while avoiding the time consuming manual ECG scanning, NOTOCORD® developed arrhythmia detection and validation modules ARR30a & RME10a.
These modules are examples of how automation should work and are nowadays used as a standard in most of our in-vivo CV safety studies.

A possible future challenge in the cooperation with NOTOCORD® will be the recording, processing and interpretation of EEG signals from telemetered animals.