VIENNA, Austria — To encourage a fast-track transfer of technologies for molecular and cellular interventions from research labs and universities, the European Commission (EC) is funding ENCITE, the European Network for Cell Imaging and Tracking Expertise.
Led by the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research (EIBIR; Vienna) and gathering 21 partners from 10 countries the four-year program was launched in June, 2008 with the award of 11 million from the EC under its Framework 7 program category to push innovations in healthcare.
At ECR 2009, the chair of the scientific session on cellular imaging, Olivier Clément, professor of radiology at the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou (Paris), said researchers have demonstrated, citing Florence Gazeau's presentation as the most recent example, that cells can be labeled, implanted and visualized.
The end goal, he said, is to learn how to use these cells for disease interventions by regenerating damaged organs or more effectively delivering drugs.
"Today in hospitals labeled cells from PET scans show function, but these markers have a short half-life and can only be followed for a short while. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging are emerging areas that ENCITE will be exploring," he said.
ENCITE will deliver new imaging methods to improve the spatio-temporal tracking of labeled cells, establish dual- and multimodality imaging procedures to cross-validate approaches, set up new contrast agents and procedures to enhance the sensitivity and specificity of cellular labeling, and combine molecular biology to produce molecular and cellular imaging reporters with multimodal imaging techniques.
EIBIR launched an EC Competitive Call in autumn 2008 to secure new partners for the ENCITE program and the deadline for applications is at the end of this month.
— John Brosky, European Editor