EUR 27 million Immune-Image project will advance the use of imaging technologies to track immune cells.
Immunotherapies, which harness the immune system to fight disease, are revolutionising the treatment of many cancers and inflammatory diseases. However, while these innovative treatments prove life-saving for some patients, others do not respond to immunotherapies at all, and others experience serious side effects.
The 5-year Immune-Image project, which started recently, aims to pioneer the use of non-invasive imaging technologies to track the activity of immune cells in the body. Ultimately, the project will make it easier to predict how patients will respond to treatment and monitor their progress during treatment.
To do this, the project will develop tracers capable of highlighting specific immune cells in a range of imaging types, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), optical imaging (OI) and computed tomography (CT). They will also analyse biopsies and blood samples to build up complete immunological profiles of patients and to correlate imaging findings with pathology; this information will contribute to the development of personalised immunotherapies.
Immune-Image has a EUR 27 million budget; of this, EUR 15 million comes from Horizon 2020 via IMI, and EUR 12 million comes from the EFPIA companies involved in the project. The 22 project partners include EFPIA companies, universities, university hospitals, small and medium-sized enterprises, and a patient organisation.