Philips embarks on $27M magnetic particle imaging EU consortium
Royal Philips Electronics has initiated a German public-private partnership that aims to advance the development of whole-body magnetic particle imaging (MPI) systems and preclinical hybrid systems that combine MPI with MRI.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made a commitment to provide EUR 10.6 million ($14.12 million U.S.) funding to the consortium partners. The target size of the consortium budget, comprising contributions from the German government and the consortium’s public/private partners, is EUR 20.3 million ($27.03 million U.S.).

MPI, according to Philips, relies on the magnetic properties of iron-oxide nanoparticles (the tracer) that are injected into the bloodstream. An MPI system spatially and quantitatively detects these iron-oxide nanoparticles to produce 3D images of physiological processes. The technology has proved capable of capturing real-time 3D images of blood flow and heart motion in mice.

Philips and the University of Lübeck, two of the three proposed consortium partners in the instrumentation area, will focus on the development of whole-body MPI demonstrators. The third instrumentation partner, Bruker, will focus on developing a simultaneous or consecutive preclinical MPI plus MRI capability. This will complement the functional MPI information with morphological information from MRI for the purposes of preclinical imaging. In the area of tracer development, the proposed partners--Bayer Schering Pharma, Miltenyi Biotec, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt--aim to develop magnetic nanoparticle materials optimized for MPI.

Two principal application areas will be explored by the consortium: functional cardiovascular measurements (such as myocardial perfusion) and image-guidance of cardiovascular interventions (using interventional devices optimized for MPI guidance), Philips said.