The MetaboliQs project is developing a new way of doing medical imaging, using fundamental quantum technologies. It works in creating and producing nano-diamonds for improved cardiac imaging and preclinical experiments, in the field of cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. Despite emerging diagnostics tools and therapeutics, several areas of significant unmet need remain unaddressed among CVD patients. The ability to personalize cardiovascular medical care and improve outcomes will require the characterization of disease processes at a molecular level. The current state-of-the-art, e.g., Positron emission tomography (PET), does not provide detailed information about the chemical state of the tissue at a molecular level, therefore it remains difficult to accurately diagnose and confidently select appropriate therapy in many circumstances.
The MetaboliQs project brings together two areas of European excellence – diamond-based quantum sensing and medical imaging. We will translate a newly developed hyperpolarization method for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based on the quantum dynamics of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers. This breakthrough quantum technology will enable previously unachievable, highly sensitive quantification of metabolic activity, paving the way for precision diagnostics and better-personalized treatment of cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases. For realizing and eventually commercializing the technology, MetaboliQs brings together a world-class multidisciplinary consortium with end to end expertise – leading diamond quantum technology research institutes (Fraunhofer IAF – quantum-grade diamond growth and fabrication, HUJI – quantum sensing) and innovative companies (Element 6 – the worldwide leader in synthetic diamonds, NVision – inventor of diamond-based polarization), as well as two expert users of hyperpolarized and cardiovascular MRI (TUM, ETH Zurich – first in continental Europe to conduct clinical trials of hyperpolarized MRI for cardiovascular disease) and the market leader in electron paramagnetic resonance and preclinical MRI (Bruker).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No820374.