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European Research Project Aims to Improve the Diagnosis and Therapy of Brain Diseases

CATANIA, Italy, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The partners in a new publicly-funded European research project today announced details of the multinational/multidisciplinary program: 'CSI: Central Nervous System Imaging.' This three-year ENIAC (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council) project aims to achieve substantial advances in state-of-the-art medical 3D-imaging platforms by focusing on the diagnosis and therapy of serious diseases of the central nervous system and brain. Key medical-imaging technologies will be significantly enhanced by means of major improvement in sensors, equipment and computing platforms to boost early diagnostics and prevention capability while reducing total equipments cost.

One of the most important challenges facing Europe is the trend towards an aging population. With many of the elderly people suffering from diseases of the central nervous system, the number of patients is also growing. These serious illnesses require some of the most expensive diagnosis/therapy procedures. In addition, these diseases, which include degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Epilepsy, and circulatory problems such as strokes, are among those with the fastest growing impact on society.

Minimally-invasive ICT-based imaging technologies such as PET (Positron Emission Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (Electro EncephaloGraphy) play a vital role in detecting and tracking the evolution of these illnesses and determining the strategy and the effectiveness of the prescribed therapies. Part of the ENIAC 'Nanoelectronics for Health and Wellness' sub-program, the CSI project will pursue the simultaneous capturing/extraction of data produced by next-generation imaging devices in order to provide the best correlated information to the physician through an innovative and intelligent merging in both timing (e.g. EEG) and spatial resolution (e.g. PET).

"This combined and synergistic approach can be made possible only through advances in various technology fields that include sensors, integrated equipment and systems for data fusion and novel data processing platforms that support Teraflop-range computing capability at the doctor's desktop," said project coordinator Salvatore Coffa, Group Vice President and R&D General Manager, Industrial and Multisegment Sector, STMicroelectronics. "The results of the project will anticipate new perspectives to improve patients' support and treatment for central nervous systems diseases, at much lower cost."

The project is organized into a number of work packages, spanning a total duration of 36 months. Three work packages address Research and Innovation for the different imaging technologies, i.e. PET, MRI and EEG, while another covers the crucial platform integration and high-performance image-processing capacity, in both hardware and software. An application work package addresses clinical applications and validation, carried out by leading-edge EU Clinical Research departments.

The total cost of the project is 14.6M euro, with more than 120 person-years effort mobilized among technology researchers, bio-engineers and clinical doctors. The project is partially funded through a combination of European and National grants, under the rule of ENIAC-JU 2009.

The 15 Project Partners are:

STMicroelectronics, Italy

University of Bologna, Italy

Philips Electronics, The Netherlands

Philips Healthcare, The Netherlands

Austriamicrosystems AG, Austria

IMEC, The Netherlands

Guger Technologies OEG, Austria

Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Austria

Kempenhaeghe, The Netherlands

Institute of Nuclear Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

Mediso Medical Equipment Developing and Service Ltd., Hungary

University of Debrecen INM, Hungary

University of Pannonia, Hungary

Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Mat-Tech B.V., The Netherlands

SOURCE STMicroelectronics
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