European Network for Cell Imaging and Tracking Expertise

The 4.5 year project European Network for Cell Imaging and Tracking Expertise (ENCITE) was launched in June 2008, under the 7th Framework Programme for Research, and was successfully finalised in November 2012.

The vision of ENCITE was to develop and test new MR and optical imaging methods and biomarkers to get a more comprehensive picture of cell fate and the reaction of the immune system, and to ultimately improve and further develop cell therapy for the benefit of the European patient.

ENCITE made a real impact on the treatment of healthcare problems that affect our every day lives. To better understand how cell therapy works, prominent researchers worked together to develop imaging tools for novel cellular therapies. The ENCITE scientists joined forces to translate important research developments into clinical practice.

Some of ENCITE’s highlight achievements include:

  • New labels and imaging techniques which have been developed and progressed towards their clinical application
  • A solid educational programme, called the Multi Centre Cluster, which offers face-to-face and electronic trainings on a long-term basis
  • An established platform for integrating groups working on translational imaging across Europe

The successful, goal-oriented, project concluded on November 5, 2012 with a final workshop on Cell Imaging and Tracking, held at the Leiden University Medical Centre, NL. An audience of over 100 participants, from a broad range of research fields, were treated to a diverse array of presentations by the ENCITE scientists. Other highlights of the day included the launch of the ENCITE video, showcasing how in vivo image-guided cell therapy is revolutionising medicine, and how ENCITE has contributed to this revolution, and a lively round table discussion addressing the question “What will cell imaging look like over the next 10 years?”.

The ENCITE project uniquely integrated physics, chemistry, cell biology, immunology and medicine, all with a focus on imaging. ENCITE brought together two previously distinct imaging communities: clinically-oriented MRI radiologists and experimental research-oriented biologists and immunologists. This collaboration is regarded to be of major importance for the further integration of the imaging field.