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LONDON, United Kingdom

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2009-1.4-1 | Award Amount: 16.14M | Year: 2010

There are currently no cures for Parkinsons disease (PD) but one of the most effective reparative therapies in patients to date has been with allotransplants of dopamine (DA) neuroblasts obtained from fetal ventral mesencephalic (VM) tissue. However, this cell transplantation approach has given inconsistent results, with some patients doing extremely well and coming off anti-PD medication for years, whilst others have shown no or only modest clinical improvements, and in some cases also developed severe, off-state graft-induced dyskinesias (GIDs). The reasons behind this heterogeneity of outcomes, and the emergence of GIDs in particular, need to be better understood, not least in the perspective of the rapid advances that are now being made in the development of stem-cell based therapies. There is therefore an urgent need to revisit the trials that have already been done with fetal VM tissue in PD patients, with the expectation that a critical reassessment can form the basis for an optimised and more standardised procedure that will translate into more consistently efficacious transplants with minimal side-effects. Over the last two years a group of international experts, including the key investigators of the previous European and North American trials, has been re-examining the outcome of these trials as well as reviewing the results obtained from recent and ongoing animal experimental studies, and identified a number of weaknesses that may explain the inconsistent outcome in previous trials. As a result of these discussions, the group has agreed to join forces in a new round of experimental work and cell therapy trials in PD, based on a new jointly developed protocol where all these factors are taken into account. In the first instance fetal VM tissue containing mesencephalic DA neuroblasts will be used, with the expectation that this will pave the way for bigger trials using dopaminergic neurons derived from stem cells.

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 261.18K | Year: 2015

Magnetic Resonance (MR) and radionuclide imaging using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) have established roles in medical diagnosis, clinical research and drug development. In recognition of the complementary nature of these two modalities, which have historically been used separately, integrated PET-MR scanners have been designed and marketed by manufacturers. These devices open-up exciting avenues to exploit the synergy between these two modalities in many areas, including dementia, cardiology, and investigation of dynamic processes such as the uptake of contrast agents by tumours. Both modalities are tomographic: from the measured data, (stacks of) slices or volumes representing anatomical and functional properties of the patient can be reconstructed using sophisticated algorithms. Image quality is critically dependent on image reconstruction methods. Development and testing of novel algorithms on patient data requires considerable expertise and effort in software implementation. We will establish a new Collaborative Computational Project (CCP) to connect researchers working at different sites and on the different modalities of PET and/or MR in the area of image reconstruction, concentrating on the logistical and computational aspects of integrated PET-MR. The platform to be provided by this CCP will be an enabling technology which removes the frequent obstacles encountered when working with the raw medical imaging datasets acquired by PET and MR scanners. It will be straightforward to work with data in a standardized format, massively aiding and accelerating innovative developments in image reconstruction and processing for PET-MR, and ultimately enabling the possibility of synergistic image reconstruction.

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