Horizon 2020

Common Mechanisms and Pathways in Stroke and Alzheimer's Disease (CoSTREAM)

The Horizon 2020 project CoSTREAM aimed to improve our understanding of the co-occurrence of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The consortium built upon an extensive infrastructure of longitudinal follow-up studies spanning up to 25 years. These studies have data on both diseases as separate clinical outcomes and contain information on a broad range of aetiological factors ranging from genetics and metabolomics to brain structure and function.

An essential concept of the CoSTREAM project was that stroke and Alzheimer’s disease are sequential diseases with overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms and shared risk factors. The project particularly focused on these common mechanisms and disentangling when and how these mechanisms diverge to cause either stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or both.

CoSTREAM’s highly multidisciplinary consortium consisted of 11 institutions from seven countries. It included epidemiologists, geneticists, radiologists and neurologists with a longstanding track-record in researching stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The consortium developed a high-throughput platform to characterize common mechanisms, also for potential intervention. We hope that the increased knowledge of common mechanisms between both diseases will ultimately lead to less co-morbidity for patients, development of novel evidence-based intervention, better preventive strategies in clinical and public health care, and increased health at an individual as well as societal level. CoSTREAM filled the urgent need for novel biomarkers, both blood-based and imaging, that aid in the identification of patients with pathology that can be halted to prevent or delay disease. This leads to new directions for clinical research for disease prevention, health promotion, therapy development, and management of comorbidities.

We are also happy to report that we successfully developed an organ-on-a-chip model for the neurovascular unit, thereby providing an essential tool for the in vitro characterization of pathways underlying both diseases and providing revolutionary opportunities for research on therapeutics. Our research results have been published in over 135 peer-reviewed scientific papers, with additional papers currently in preparation or available as pre-print non-reviewed publications. Links to these publications are available on the project website.

Coordinator:  Erasmus University Medical Centre, NL
Partners: University of Geneva, CH; Ludwig Maximilian University, DE; Pasteur Institute of Lille, FR; University of Bordeaux, FR; Leiden University, NL; MIMETAS, NL; Karolinska Institute, SE; King’s College, UK; University of Cambridge, UK; European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.

The CoSTREAM project received €5,100,372.50 in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 667375 and concluded on May 31, 2021.

Smart Optical and Ultrasound Diagnostics of Breast Cancer (SOLUS)

The SOLUS project was a trans-disciplinary 48-month project bringing together nine industry, academic and clinical partners from five countries (engineers, physicists and radiologists), representing cutting-edge expertise in their fields, to develop an innovative non-invasive, point-of-care, low-cost, easy-to-operate, multi-modal imaging system (diffuse optics and ultrasounds/shear wave elastography) for high-specificity diagnosis of breast cancer, the most common female cancer in Europe.

Mammographic screening is effective in reducing mortality; however, the 10-year cumulative false-positive risk is 50-60%, leading to needless additional invasive procedures (e.g., biopsy). The project addressed the unmet clinical need for higher specificity in breast cancer imaging following screening by fully combining photonics with non-photonics techniques, developing and clinically validating innovative and previously unthinkable photonics concepts and components: time-domain small source-detector distance optical tomography, miniaturised picosecond pulsed-laser sources, high-dynamic-range time-gated single-photons detectors to achieve unprecedented sensitivity and depth penetration. For the first time, this allows a comprehensive quantitative characterisation of breast tissue including composition (water, lipids, collagen), functional blood parameters, morphologic information and mechanical parameters (stiffness). The system, developed to discriminate noninvasively between malignant and benign lesions, is currently in the clinical validation phase at the San Raffaele Hospital. The validation will last two years, but initial results will be already available in the next months.

This innovative multi-parametric characterisation will significantly improve the specificity of breast screening, with great impact on the quality of life of millions of European women every year and huge savings for the healthcare systems. The strong involvement of leading industrial players at all levels in the value chain pushed the European innovation process and made a significant contribution to ensuring Europe’s industrial leadership in the biophotonics healthcare market, while addressing one of the largest societal challenges in health and well-being.

Coordinator:  Politecnico di Milano, IT.
Partners: iC-Haus GmbH, DE; CEA-LETI, FR; SuperSonic Imagine, FR; Vermon SA, FR; Micro Photon Devices, IT; San Raffaele Hospital, IT; University College London, UK; European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.

The SOLUS project received €3,815,260 in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 731877 and is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership. The project concluded on April 30,2021.

Laser and Ultrasound Co-Analyzer for Thyroid Nodules (LUCA)

The LUCA project aimed to tackle the growing societal need for sustainable healthcare by producing a novel, point-of-care, low-cost device for the screening of thyroid nodules. The device combines two photonics systems, near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy and time-resolved spectroscopy, with a multi-modal ultrasound system and a probe that enables multimodal data acquisition for the screening of thyroid nodules for thyroid cancer. The LUCA project started in 2016 and over its 5 years worked on device development to provide doctors with enhanced information required to provide better and more specific results in thyroid nodule screening. The goal of such device was mainly to enable better diagnosis of this type of cancer because so far, there was no accurate way of determining whether a thyroid tumour as benign or malignant.

Thyroid nodules are a common pathology, having a prevalence of palpable nodules of around 5% in women and 1% in men, which increases to 19-76% with the use of neck ultrasound. To exclude thyroid cancer when screening thyroid nodules, which occurs in 5-15% of thyroid nodules, the first step is ultrasound followed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy of suspicious nodules. In thyroid cancer, the sensitivity and specificity of this process are limited, with a large number of non-diagnostic and false positive results that lead to unnecessary surgery. A reduction in the number of surgical procedures with a point-of-care diagnostic procedure would have an important socio-economic impact, diminishing the number of thyroidectomies and the associated comorbidities. This implies savings of millions of euros per year.

Recently, the device was moved into the clinical environment and tested on 18 healthy volunteers, and 47 patients were diagnosed with thyroid nodules and were scheduled for thyroidectomy. The LUCA device showed potential for identifying the group of nodules as benign or malignant, which were stipulated as unclear cases with the classical ultrasound screening technique. By analyzing the metabolic rate of oxygen consumption and total hemoglobin concentration, the device was able to classify 13 benign and 4 malignant nodules with a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 77%. The study recently published in Biomedical Optics Express and authored by members of the consortium reports on several study cases and clinical tests conducted to validate the accuracy and high quality of measurements achieved by the LUCA device.

LUCA brought together eight partner organisations from five different European countries. It was a multidisciplinary project with clinical endocrinologists, radiologists (both end-users), physicists, engineers and industry joining forces.

Coordinator:  Institute of Photonic Sciences, ES.
Partners: HemoPhotonics SL, ES; IDIBAPS, ES; Echo Control Medical, FR; Vermon SA, FR; Politecnico di Milano, IT; University of Birmingham, UK; European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.

The LUCA project received €3,628,845.75 in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 688303 and is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership. The project concluded on July 31, 2020.

GlucoCEST Imaging in Neoplastic Tumours (GLINT)

The high level of sophistication in cancer treatment has led to a new unsolved problem, differentiating between treatment effect, regrowth and pseudo-progression of the tumour. To address these challenges, the GLINT project worked on a new, non-invasive imaging method using native D-glucose and 3-O-methyl-Dglucose (3OMG) as non-radioactive tracers to assess cancer glucose uptake and metabolism.

The GLINT project built on previous research revealing the sensitivity of a technique named glucose-based chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST) to detect native glucose uptake in tumours. The method takes advantage of the fact that tumours need to consume a vast amount of glucose to grow. This means, cancer can be detected by measuring cellular glucose delivery, uptake and metabolism. Until now, these low concentrations of glucose could only be imaged in positron emission tomography (PET) using radio-labelled glucose.

Under the lead of University College London, eight partners from within and outside the European Union joined forces to pursue their common goal to provide a non-invasive and radiation-free method that can add to the nuclear medicine techniques currently used for cancer assessment in Europe. EIBIR was a partner in the project, supporting project management and leading the project’s dissemination, knowledge management and exploitation activiites.

Running from January 2016 to December 2019, GLINT significantly contributed to the development of novel CEST-based procedures for cancer imaging. Among others, a new data acquisition technique called snapshot-CEST was developed for fast and robust volumetric CEST imaging and the project partners improved the analytical equations of CEST quantification, which allow more accurate exchange rate determination of the glucoCEST signal. Based on the Olea Sphere® Software Development Kit (SDK), a complete post-processing software suite for analysis of general CEST experiments was devised by industry partner Olea Medical. Moreover, the project partners were able to demonstrate the ability to image tumours by many new possible contrast agents, from 3-O-methyl-Dglucose (3OMG) and other non-metabolizable glucose analogues, to glucosamine (GlcN) or N-acetyl-glucosamine (GlcNAc) CEST MRI in animal models. Other deliverables of the project included a radiometric approach for accurate estimation of pH change, and, using CEST-pH imaging, the partners were able to detect in vivo changes in tumour acidosis. The results suggest that MRI-CEST pH imaging is a promising tool to monitor the early response and efficacy of cancer metabolic targeting drugs. Finally, performing a multicentre study in humans, the GLINT consortium evaluated the glucoCEST technique in terms of repeatability and reproducibility. In this study, the partners demonstrated that the method was robust enough to detect the small signal changes expected in vivo at clinical field strengths and were able to show that it is possible to detect a positive glucoCEST signal in glioma patients, while detection of such a signal in solid tumours remains elusive at this stage.

The consortium intends to continue the research beyond the end of the GLINT project and will exploit their results to bring the use of either native glucose or glucose analogues to the clinics in the future.

Coordinator:  University College London, UK.
Partners: Tel Aviv University, IL; University of Torino, IT; Max Planck Society, DE; University of Zurich, CH; Olea Medical, FR; Bracco Imaging, IT; European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.

The GLINT project received €5,797,799 in funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 667510 and concluded on December 31, 2019.

European eHealth Interoperability Conformity Assessment Schmee for Europe (EURO-CAS)

Launched in December 2016, the EURO-CAS project aimed to deliver an eHealth Interoperability Conformity Assessment Scheme for Europe (CASforEU). The scheme will promote the adoption and take-up of interoperability testing of eHealth solutions against eHealth standards and profiles defined in the eHealth European Interoperability Framework (eEIF).

The project concluded in November 2018. EIBIR was project coordinator, responsible for the overall project management and supported dissemination and validation activities, with IHE Europe as Scientific Coordinator. Fourteen national and regional government bodies, competence centres and associations from 11 different European countries were part of the consortium.

Together they defined the CAsforEU as a pragmatic and realistic scheme in terms of governance and execution: profiles that were selected are broadly deployed in many countries already today and testing tools are already available as well as expertise and testing organisations. A dedicated business plan for a EURO-CAS organisation (ECO) was developed and thus CASforEU is now ready to be deployed. For the first time the focused organisation will (1) operate on international, European and country level; (2) be transparent and based on multi-stakeholder consensus and (3) reduce effort and time to market.

15 collected Letters of Intent from key stakeholder organisations from across Europe, indicate a clear willingness and demand for a scheme such as CASforEU and a European organisation to ensure good coordination.

Coordinator:  European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: IHE Europe, BE; Medcom, DK; Offis, DE; COCIR, BE; eSANTE, LU; Arsenal.IT, IT; ASIP, FR; Continua Health Alliance, BE; Lombardia Informatica, IT; European Hospital and Healthcare Federation, BE; Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje, HR; Ilektroniki Diakyvernisi Koinonikisasfalisis, EL; Stichting Nationaal ICT Instituut in de Zorg, NL; Serviços Partilhados do Ministério da Saúde, PT; Centrum Systemów Informacyjnych Ochrony Zdrowia, PL.

The EURO-CAS project received €995,287 in funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 72702 and concluded on November 30, 2018.

7th Framework Programme

Closed-loop Molecular Environment for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Patients with metastatic Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours (MITIGATE)

Running from October 2013 to September 2017, the MITIGATE project aimed to develop and validate a targeted, personalised and integrated closed-loop concept to effectively treat patients with metastatic Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) who are resistant to tyrosine-kinase inhibitors.

By 2017 MITIGATE fulfilled one of the most important milestones: the opening of the clinical trial to evaluate safety, biodistribution, dosimetry and preliminary diagnostic performance of 68Ga-NeoBOMB1 in patients with advanced TKI-treated GIST using PET-CT. NeoBOMB1 is a new generation bombesin analogue, which binds with high affinity/specificity to the gastrin release peptide receptor expressed in GIST. So far, several patients were enrolled in the trial and showed a high safety profile and promising results in specific molecular targeting of GIST tumours. Accordingly, MITIGATE partners already look to continue their collaboration in the development of nuclear medicine tracers for the diagnosis, and eventually treatment, of GIST.

In terms of minimally invasive treatment a strategy and tools to integrate the newly developed markers for PET-CT imaging into the combination treatments were developed. The evaluation of the developed assisting device for minimally invasive treatments showed promising results in terms of precision and intervention time.

Furthermore dedicated 23Na-MRI and multimodal (23Na/1H) coil were produced and tested. A multimodal protocol was tested in animal experiments following imatinib treatment and several imaging modalities (PET, DCE-MRI, DWI-MRI, pH-MRI) were capable to detect the early response to imatinib treatment.

MITIGATE officially concluded at the end of September 2017. The project has been highly successful in achieving its goals and there are clear strategies for the future exploitation of MITIGATE results.

Coordinator: Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, DE.
Partners: European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT; Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, AT; Università Degli Studi di Torino, IT; Fraunhofer IPA, DE; Cage Chemicals, ITAdvanced Accelerator Applications, FR; Rapid Biomedical, DE; Stemcell Technologies, FR; Hochschule Mannheim, DE.

The MITIGATE project received €4,494,253 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 602306 and concluded on September 30, 2017.

VPH Dementia Research Enabled by IT (VPH-DARE@IT)

Virtual Physiological Human: Dementia Research enabled by IT (VPH-DARE@IT) was a major integrated research project funded through the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. The project aimed to provide a systematic, multifactorial and multiscale modelling approach to understanding dementia onset and progression while enabling more objective, earlier, predictive and individualised diagnoses and prognoses of dementias to cope with the challenge of an ageing European society. Some of the key results of the project include new platforms for researchers, clinicians and patients which aim to facilitate further research and early diagnosis of dementia.

As a partner in the project’s management & dissemination work package, EIBIR supported the project coordinator, the University of Sheffield, in disseminating the results of the project to the scientific community, particularly biomedical imaging scientists, and other stakeholders such as patient groups like the European Federation of Neurological Associations. The project’s outreach and dissemination, in which EIBIR was a key partner, were appreciated by the European Commission’s evaluators due to the communication with patient groups and regular publications. EIBIR also ensured that the project featured prominently at ECR 2016 and 2017, with its own dedicated sessions and exhibition booth.

The project officially concluded in September 2017 following a six-month extension. Overall, the European Commission reviewers were impressed with the achievements of the project, especially with regard to integrating lifestyle and environmental factors into the project’s patient care platform. The consortium sought to make further progress on incorporating these factors during the final period by adopting specific scenarios for the patient care platform and biomarkers based on the selected lifestyle and environmental factors.

Coordinator: University of Sheffield, UK.
Partners: European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT; ASD Advanced Simulation & Design, DE; Empirica, DE; Engineering Systems International, FR; Erasmus MC, NL; ETH Zurich, CH; Hirslanden Klinik, CH; Imperial College London, UK; INSERM U773 Paris, FR; Philips Medical Systems, NL; Philips Innovative Technologies, DE; Sheffield Teaching Hospital Trust, UK; Tomorrow Options Microelectronics, PT; Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ES; University College London, UK; University of Eastern Finland, FI; University of Maastricht, NL; University of Oslo, NO; VTT Technical Research Centre, FI.

The VPH-DARE@IT project received €13,393,565 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 601055 and concluded on September 30, 2017.

Virtual Physiological Human: Personalized Predictive Breast Cancer Therapy Through Integrated Tissue Micro-Structure Modeling (VPH-PRISM)

The VPH-PRISM project came to a successful conclusion in March 2016 after its 36-month duration. The project consisted of nine partners from Europe and the United States, with EIBIR serving as project coordinator and leading the project management and dissemination work package. This trans-atlantic consortium worked together to create more accurate modelling of breast tumours in order to enable earlier breast cancer diagnosis and better treatment options. This meant not only creating improved models with greater accuracy, but also putting these models into practice to give surgeons and clinicians better diagnosis and treatment tools which will ultimately benefit the patient. Several new tools have been made available to researchers and clinicians as a result of the project, including a unique database that contains histopathological, molecular, environmental and imaging data and a breast surgery planning software suite that allows surgeons to visualise the tumour and its location in the patient via an iPad while correcting for deformation.

The project aimed to translate image data into a data storage framework, where an interdisciplinary link between the broad range of medical imaging technologies such as mammography, ultrasound, MRI, as well as tissue histology, could be made possible through automated image analysis tools and interactive web-based image annotation. This interdisciplinary link is the first step towards removing the barriers specialists face when systematically analysing their joint findings, while a computational online-offline image analysis framework will enable more objective and reproducible tumour phenotyping and therapy planning. The project has to this end developed a database containing clinical, imaging, pathological and molecular data – the first of its kind in the world – to link these data types both spatially and semantically, and thus facilitate more accurate tumour modelling, resulting in a multidisciplinary breast cancer phenotype.

The project met its overall objectives and the European Commission reviewers expressed interest in many of the results of the project. The data collected during the project was seen as a valuable resource for other researchers and is being kept accessible to other projects by Fraunhofer MEVIS (Scientific Coordinator) upon request. A number of commercially exploitable results in the areas of algorithms for imaging analysis, computer-assisted breast surgery and modules for quantitative pathology were also developed, and these are expected to be further prepared after the project end before reaching the market.

Coordinator: European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: Fraunhofer MEVIS, DE; Radboud University Medical Centre, NL; University College London, UK; Philips Technologie GmbH, DE; The University of Chicago, US; University of Dundee, UK; Medical University of Vienna, AT; Boca Raton Regional Hospital, INC., US.

The VPH-PRISM project received €3,720,000 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 601040 and concluded on February 29, 2016.

Euro-BioImaging - European Research Infrastructure for Imaging Technologies in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

In 2008, ESFRI included Euro-BioImaging in the 2nd edition of its European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures. During the EC FP7-funded Preparatory Phase, which lasted from December 2010 to May 2014, the Euro-BioImaging Consortium developed a consensus recommendation for the Euro-BioImaging infrastructure model supported by 24 national imaging chapters, 250 Associated Partners and more than 3.000 individual stakeholders

In summary, the Preparatory Phase Consortium of Euro-BioImaging:

  • Defined the needs of the biological and medical imaging user communities in a European-wide survey with more than 660 participants in 2011.
  • Conducted in 2012 a six-month proof-of-concept operational phase that supported 110 user research projects in 41 Euro-BioImaging partner facilities in 14 countries, demonstrating that the Euro-BioImaging infrastructure and access models are operational and enable new research that is published in high impact peer review journals. 22 studies had been published by November 2013.
  • Defined the general and technology specific criteria for construction and operation of Euro-BioImaging Nodes as published in the 1st Open Call for Nodes in 2013.
  • Developed a plan for harmonized and standardized access to imaging technologies
  • Developed a plan for harmonized and standardized training curricula in imaging technologies
  • Developed a plan for image data management, storage and processing
  • Defined recommendations for the legal and governmental framework for the construction and operational phase
  • Defined a recommendation for the finance plan to support construction and operation
  • Summarized the mission, services, infrastructure model, and recommendations for the governance, finance plan and legal framework in an overall business plan
  • Integrated Euro-BioImaging into the European and global research infrastructure landscape.

The Euro-BioImaging preparatory phase delivered a mature and tested research infrastructure model for imaging technologies. The model defines which imaging technologies need to be provided to Europe’s researchers, through which procedure they can be made openly accessible, and which highly evaluated potential future Nodes could serve them. The Euro-BioImaging model furthermore gives a clear recommendation for how the pan-European infrastructure can be governed by its Member States and coordinated and managed by its European Hub.

Since the end of the EC-funded project, Euro-BioImaging has moved beyond the preparatory phase. For further information on current activities, visit the Euro-Bio Imaging website.

Coordinator:  European Molecular Biology Laboratory, DE.
Partners: European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT; Abo Akademi, Fl; Aarhus Universitetshospital, Skejby, DK; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK; Agència d’Informació, Avaluació i Qualitat en Salut, ES; Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, FR; Consiglio nazionale delle Ricerche, IT; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, FR; Fundacio Privada Centre de Regulacio Genomica, ES; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DE; Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam, NL; European Organisation for Reserach and Treatment of Cancer, BE; Ecole Polytechnique Federale deLausanne, CH; Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, CH; Funadcio Privada Clinic per a la Recerca Biomedica, ES; Novartis Forschungsstiftung, Zweigniederlassung Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, CH; Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foederung der Angewandten Forschung, DE; Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren, DE; Instituto Europeo di Oncologia, IT; Institute of Molecular Genetics- Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, CZ; Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, UK; Institut National de Recherche en Informatique at en Automatique, FR; Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, FR; Ludwig Maximilians-UniversitaetMuenchen, DE; Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften, DE; Instytut Biologii Doswiadczelnej im. M. Necnckiego Polskiej Akademii Nauk, PL; Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, NL; Otto-Von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg, DE; Ruprecht-Karls Universitaet Heidelberg, DE; Universitaetsklinikum Freiburg, DE; Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, NL; Universita degli Studi di Torino, IT; University of Dundee, UK; Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ES; Uppsala Universitet, SE; Weizmann Institute of Science, IL; Westfälische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster, DE; The Netherlands Organisation of Health Research and Development, NL.

The Euro-BioImaging project received €5,198,244 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 262023 and concluded on May 31, 2014.

Dosimetry and Health Effects of Diagnostic Applications of Radiopharmaceuticals with particular emphasis on the use in children and adolescents (PEDDOSE.NET)

PEDOSE.NET (Dosimetry and Health Effects of Diagnostic Applications of Radiopharmaceuticals with Particular Emphasis on the Use in Children and Adolescents) was a two-year project funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, running from April 2010 to January 2012. The consortium consisted of five partners from Germany, France, Belgium and Austria, with EIBIR as the coordinating partner. The scientific partners are considered to be leading experts in Europe on the dosimetry of nuclear medicine.

The main goals of the project were to evaluate the potential health impacts of nuclear medicine diagnostics, and to provide recommendations for future research and on the use and standardisation of hybrid imaging. PEDDOSE.NET carried out a systematic scientific evaluation of the available dosimetry data for diagnostic nuclear medicine with particular emphasis on paediatric nuclear medicine. Recommendations were developed for directing future research on the use and standardisation of hybrid imaging, on the implementation of patient-specific dosage applied to nuclear medicine diagnostics and on education and training.

Coordinator:  European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: INSERM, FR; University of Gent, BE; Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, DE; University Hospital Würzburg, DE.

The PEDDOSE.NET project received €499,581 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 241608 and concluded on January 31, 2012.

Highly Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnosis through Integration of Biological Knowledge, Novel Imaging Modalities, and Modelling (HAMAM)

The HAMAM project (Highly Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnosis through Integration of Biological Knowledge, Novel Imaging Modalities, and Modelling) was launched in September 2008 under the 7th Framework Programme for Research, and was successfully finalised in April 2012. The HAMAM objective was to improve the early detection and accurate diagnosis of breast cancer by integrating the available multi-modal images and patient information on a single clinical workstation. The consortium of nine project partners from Europe and the United States aimed to facilitate an earlier detection of breast cancer and a reduction of unnecessary biopsies.

Among the key outcomes of the project are a number of tools designed to automatically correlate and jointly interpret information from different sources. With conventional imaging workstations, extensive training is necessary before readers are able to reliably identify correspondences of suspicious structures in 2D projection images, for example mammography, and 3D modalities, such as ABUS. A major result of the HAMAM project was a set of new techniques to automatically map spatially corresponding anatomical structures in each modality. The images can then be presented such that sizes and positions match between modalities, thereby instantly orienting the human reader and facilitating more efficient and accurate combined assessment of findings.

Coordinator:  European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: ETH Zurich, CH; Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, DE; MEVIS Medical Solutions AG, DE; Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zu Förderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V., DE; Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, NL; University College London, UK; University of Dundee, UK; Boca Raton Regional Hospital Inc Non-Profit Corporate, US.

The HAMAM project received €3,099,723 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 224538 and concluded on February 29, 2012.

European Network for Cell Imaging and Tracking Expertise (ENCITE)

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.

Coordinator:  European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: Erasmus MC, NL; King’s College London, UK; Weizmann Institute, IL; Max Planck Society, DE; Tel Aviv University, IL; University of Turin, IT; Intitute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, CZ; University Hospital Freiburg, DE; University of Mons, FR; University Paris Descares, FR; Akademisch Ziekenhuis Leiden, NL; Universita degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca, IT; Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, NL; Fundacion para la Investigation Medica Aplicada Fima, ES; Institut Curie, FR; Biospace Lab, FR; Medres-Medical Research GmbH, DE; CAGE Chemicals SRL, IT; Universidad de Navarra, ES; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IL; Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, DE; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE; University of Cambridge, UK; Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, ES; Consorci Institut Catala de Ciencies Cardiovasculars, ES; Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum Amsterdam, NL; University Hospital Basel, CH; University Hospital Erlangen, DE.

The ENCITE project received €11,997,945 in funding from the European Union‘s 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 201842 and concluded on November 30, 2012.

6th Framework Programme

The European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research

The European Commission allocated over € 17 billion for transnational projects in the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) for research and technological development, 2003 – 2006.The European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research (EIBIR) was established in January 2006 as a non-profit, limited liability company, dedicated to the co-ordination of research in Europe, under the support of a FP6 grant under the Life Science programme. The project was supported by an EU financial contribution of €200,000. It commenced in July 2007 and concluded in July 2009. There were 13 project partners from key research institutes across Europe, and a representative from each made up the EIBIR Scientific Advisory Board.

During its project lifetime EIBIR developed into a very active coordinating institution in the field of biomedical imaging research. It successfully achieved its aim of establishing a network of clinical and non-clinical institutions interested and working in the field of biomedical imaging. The sucess of the project is evident today in the active organisation and EIBIR’s extensive member network.

Coordinator:  European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, AT.
Partners: Copenhagen University Hospital at Herlev, DK; University of Pisa, IT; University Hospital Freiburg, DE; University of Szeged, HU; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Innsbruck Medical University, AT; Uppsala University; Charles University Prague, CZ; DR Peset University Hospital, ES; University of Cambridge, UK; Beaumont Hospital, IE; Erasmus MC, NL; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, FR.

The EIBIR project received €200,000 in funding from the European Union‘s 6th Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 37652 and concluded on June 30, 2009.

COST Actions

Arterial spin labelling Initiative in Dementia (AID)

The COST Action BM1103 – Arterial spin labelling Initiative in Dementia (AID) was a four-year project running from December 2011 to December 2015. The consortium, which was led by Prof. Xavier Golay (UK), was made up of field experts from 12 different European countries.

The objectives of COST Action AID were to harmonise and compare all existing arterial spin labelling (ASL) acquisition methods and to further develop a number of quantitative techniques for assessment of dementia; to develop automatic image processing software to offer the best possible precision and reproducibility when comparing quantitative perfusion parameters; to establish clinical trials to compare results obtained from ASL to FDG-PET across several European countries; to validate the technology as a biomarker of disease onset and progression, and a possible trial outcome measure; to establish a pan-European ASL network related to ASL in research and clinical routine.

Objectives of this action resulted in deliverables as a set of optimised protocols and MRI methods to measure CBF that will have been cross-validated and tested on all major MRI scanner platforms present in Europe; clear directives established in coordination with the major European bodies on the use of these new tools and their limitations; an increased capacity building of researchers in this particular field as well as improved collaborations with the major pharmaceutical industries developing new therapies for dementia.

The esults of the COST action are presented on websites (www.aslindementia.org, asl-network.org, fsl.fmrib.ox.ac.uk/fsl/fslwiki/BASIL, www.goldstandardphantoms.com) systematically and transparently. Activities were organized in four work packages and three working groups, and involved not only academia but also participation of industry. Moreover, a spinout company was established, Gold Standard Phantoms, at the University College London’s Institute of Neurology that is offering calibration services for quantitative medical imaging. The main aim is to provide quantitative and reproducible scientific measurement methodology which is of a great help in scientific work, and initially based on results of this COST action.

During the project’s lifetime, the consortium organized 13 meetings and training school, 31 short term scientific missions, and two schools with 50 participants each. By the end of the fourth year more than 200 people were involved in the activities. Therefore, the action contributed to increasing mobility across Europe, both researchers and students and COST action activities and objectives, thus increasing capacity building. Common results and efforts also resulted in more than 30 papers one of them Recommended Implementation of Arterial Spin Labelled Perfusion MRI for Clinical Applications: A consensus of the ISMRM Perfusion Study Group and the European Consortium for ASL in Dementia, published as an expert opinion in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Magn Reson Med. 2015 Jan; 73(1): 102–116.).

  • Having in mind activities performed and results of this action, the following impacts have been noted:
  • Systematic analysis of all ASL techniques, and consensus paper published;
  • Established and published the most widely-used image processing pipeline for ASL;
  • Analysed different ASL methods, validation study: ASL vs PET;
  • Evaluated significance of biomarkers as a tool in clinical trials for assessment of clinical course of diseases as well as for development of atlases of disease progression in comparison to normal ageing;
  • Established pan-European ASL network as a reference site for all issues related to ASL and, not only further development of diagnostic procedures, but also teaching and training of researchers.

Theragnostics Imaging and Therapy: An Action to Develop Novel Nanosized Systems for Imaging-Guided Drug Delivery

The COST Action TD1004 – Theragnostics Imaging and Therapy: An Action to Develop Novel Nanosized Systems for Imaging-Guided Drug Delivery was a four-year project led by Professor Silvio Aime, Director of EIBIR’s Joint Initiative on Preclinical Imaging, and represented a collaboration of experts in chemistry and molecular sciences and technologies from 15 different countries. EIBIR supported the development of this COST Action during the proposal writing phase, the contract negotiations, and handled the administrative issues.

The Action’s focus was to demonstrate the potential of image-guided therapies in the treatment of diseases with high social impact. It brought together the key European research groups working on the development of novel combined diagnostic/therapeutic/theranostic agents. The main objective was to demonstrate the potential of image-guided therapies in the treatment of diseases with high social impact.

For further information please refer to the Theranostic Imaging website.