International biomedical research project eyes MRI to image cell therapy

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The European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, located in Vienna, Austria, has taken over the coordination of a large research project, involving 10 countries, that will develop imaging technologies and methods in the area of cell therapy.

The project, started June 1, is now called European Network for Cell Imaging and Tracking Expertise (ENCITE).

EIBIR said that currently, there is no single imaging modality that meets the requirements of stem cell therapy. However, the project has said that MRI has enormous potential in this regard. Additionally, other imaging methods, especially optical imaging, will be considered in the course of the project.

Within the framework of the project, new MR imaging methods and biomarkers will be developed and tested in order to get a more comprehensive picture of the cell fate and the reaction of the immune system. Eventually, the project plans to apply these in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The project is supported by a financial contribution of $17.15 million (€11 million) within the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program. EIBIR was founded in January 2006 and is a non-profit, limited liability company with more than 200 member institutions from 27 countries.