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New Major Instrumentation Initiative: Clinical Hyperpolarisers for Advanced Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Dienstag 04. Juni 2024

Deadline: 4. Juni 2024

With this call, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) launches a new Major Instrumentation Initiative that invites proposals for the provision of Clinical Hyperpolarisers for metabolic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at German universities in order to explore the scientific potential of this technology in medical imaging research.

Real-time visualisation and quantification of metabolic processes are crucial in diseases as they can improve diagnosis and risk stratification, and enable more effective and personalised treatment strategies based on very early assessment of response. While MRI offers a broad variety of imaging approaches, the accessible information in clinical practice is limited by the intrinsically limited sensitivity of magnetic resonance in the Boltzmann equilibrium distribution of spin states. In favourable conditions, hyperpolarisation can dramatically increase the signal (theoretically by several orders of magnitude). In physical chemistry, hyperpolarisation is already exploited, albeit on small analytical samples. Related instrumentation for dynamic nuclear polarisation nuclear magnetic resonance (DNP-NMR) was the subject of the DFG major instrumentation initiative 2011. At present, the production and application of hyperpolarised MRI probes in a clinical setting has become feasible, turning conventional MRI into a powerful metabolic imaging tool applicable to a multitude of impactful clinical applications in oncology, cardiology, neurology and more.

The main objective of this call is to explore the potential of commercially available hyperpolarisation instrumentation for research in metabolic MRI. Hyperpolarisers of a different kind (e.g. both the DNP and the PHIP approach) are eligible, but they need to have clearance for clinical imaging. Proposals may include, if necessary, the adaption of available clinical MRI scanners for hyperpolarised imaging (e.g. dedicated coils), but this may only constitute a small fraction of the total costs, since the subject of the call is the hyperpolarisation device. The availability of state-of-the-art MRI facilities with sufficient available personnel supporting metabolic imaging research is a prerequisite. Since a high degree of utilisation of the hyperpolariser is expected, availability of measurement time at suitable MRI scanners needs to be explained in the proposal.

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