Hamburg, Germany – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) today announced that it 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 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made a commitment to provide EUR 10.6 million 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.
Philips is committed to delivering leading-edge imaging solutions to help in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Researching future-generation imaging technologies such as MPI underpins the long-term nature of this commitment. MPI was invented by scientists at Philips. It relies on the magnetic properties of iron-oxide nanoparticles (the so-called tracer) that are injected into the bloodstream. An MPI system spatially and quantitatively detects these iron-oxide nanoparticles in order to produce three-dimensional images of physiological processes. The technology has already proved capable of capturing accurate real-time 3D-images of blood flow and heart motion in mice.
“As part of our Open Innovation approach, Philips has initiated the Magnetic Particle Imaging Technology - MAPIT - consortium to accelerate the translation of this innovative new imaging concept into clinical practice,” says Michael Kuhn, Vice President Technology Strategy at Philips Healthcare. “Realizing the full potential of MPI to help in elucidating the processes associated with disease requires an integrated approach and a collaborative effort. I am convinced that the multidisciplinary MAPIT consortium is well positioned to advance MPI development in the areas of instrumentation, tracers, and application research.”
“Constant improvements in medical imaging technology have significantly boosted advances in healthcare. Based on the level of performance that has been demonstrated in preclinical studies, I consider MPI to be a new imaging modality with the real potential to improve diagnostic imaging in cardiology and oncology, as well as being a tremendous tool for the advancement of molecular imaging in general,” says Professor Bernd Hamm, Director of the Department of Radiology and Chair of Radiology at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
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 Corporation (NASDAQ: BRKR), 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 AG, Miltenyi Biotec, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) 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).
The results achieved at the Philips Research Laboratories in Hamburg (Germany) in the preceding MAGIC (Magnetic Particle Imaging for Cardiovascular Applications) research consortium contributed significantly to the development of MPI. The MAGIC project, which was also funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has already resulted in an agreement between Philips and Bruker Biospin regarding the commercialization of MPI scanners for the preclinical market.