EIBIR 2 - EU Research on cancer imaging
1. To understand cancer imaging research in Europe.
2. To learn about current funding opportunities for cancer imaging research in Europe.
Imaging biomarkers are involved throughout cancer research, and serve many purposes other than providing surrogate endpoints. Nevertheless, novel imaging biomarkers must be qualified before they can be used to reliably guide clinical decisions. Imaging biomarker qualification requires strong collaboration between imagers in industry and academia, as well as insight from regulators and payers, utilizing the different strengths of each stakeholder. The European Union has launched Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), in calls for proposals or actions. Of the total Horizon 2020 budget, around € 6.8 billion has been committed to fund "Health, demographic change and well-being" research, which is one of the seven challenges of the Societal Challenges pillar of Horizon 2020. The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry, and it is also the world's biggest public-private partnership in the life sciences. Through the IMI 2 programme, it has a €3.3 billion budget for the period 2014-2024. The European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research (EIBIR) has a significant amount of experience in the field of biomedical imaging research funding, and has achieved high successful rates in the past Horizon 2020 calls. It is in a stronger position to provide knowledgeable support for imaging proposal preparation and project management. Three granted imaging projects will be introduced in this session.
1. To understand a new multimodal imaging technology.
2. To learn about the Horizon 2020 research project LUCA.
Near-infrared diffuse optical methods provide unique contrasts based on haemodynamics (microvascular blood flow, blood oxygen saturation and blood volume) and tissue structure (cell density, size) as well as the water and other chromophore concentrations. These can be measured in a non-invasive, relatively safe manner. I will describe the current state-of-the-art in the context of theranostics for oncology and relate them to ongoing European projects. In particular, the focus of my research is on the development of hybrid technologies that combine diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) to be utilized in biomedicine. Our international efforts involve the validation, research as well as clinical translation of these technologies from "mice to men". The translational aspect of this effort is strengthened by the utilization of same/similar instrumentation on both small animals and on clinical feasibility testing. I will describe the background physics, the basics of the technology, different approaches to probes and illustrate the state of the art using examples from different studies. Finally, I will describe the LUCA project (http://www.luca-project.eu) where a European consortium is working towards building and validating a prototype that combines optics with ultrasound.
1. To discover an innovative MRI method to visualise cancer.
2. To learn about the Horizon 2020 research project GLINT.
Cancer accounts for 13% of all deaths worldwide and despite recent medical improvements remains one of the most deleterious diseases in the world. Early detection is very important as it increases the chances of survival. In addition, the high level of sophistication towards treating cancer has generated a new problem: the differentiation between treatment effect, regrowth or pseudo-progression of the tumour, which are all poorly differentiated on most imaging methods. Tumour cells preferentially uptake glucose over normal cells, as they rely on enhanced aerobic glycolysis for their energy supply, which distinguishes them from normal tissue (the Warburg effect. We have exploited this finding to both develop and demonstrate the sensitivity of a new radiation-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, named glucose-based chemical exchange saturation transfer (GlucoCEST), which will provide additional information over and above current medical in vivo imaging techniques in oncology (1). GlucoCEST has been shown to detect both native glucose and glucose (Glc) analogues such as 3-O-methyl-D-glucose (3OMG) uptake in tumour models. We, therefore, established a consortium (GlucoCEST imaging of neoplastic tumours - GLINT) to bring the combination of Glc and 3OMG as a combined exam to the clinics, thereby providing a wide-ranging new diagnostic tool for one of the most devastating diseases in the world. Thus, GLINT aims, therefore, to provide a cheap, available, comprehensive, non-invasive, radiation-free complementary method to nuclear medicine techniques currently used for cancer assessment. Ref: 1) Walker-Samuel et al, Nature Medicine, 19(8):1067-73 (2013).