Real-time cell imaging technique could transform research

An EU-funded team of scientists from Spain, Germany and Denmark is investigating a radical new MRI-based technique for ultra-detailed, real-time imaging of living cells. Results could transform cancer research, neuroscience, biophysics - and more.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 27 July 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesMedical research  |  Neuroscience
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Denmark  |  Germany  |  Spain
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Real-time cell imaging technique could transform research

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© Sergey Nivens #122317794, source: fotolia.com 2018

Live cell imaging captures or visualises human tissue in action. Several methods have been developed to study living cells in greater detail and with less effort, helping scientists gain a better grasp of biological functions. But the sort of super-resolution required to make fundamental medical discoveries comes with a trade-off between resolution, speed and exposure to too much light using current imaging methods.

As technology and resolution improves, more and more detail can be detected showing even tiny changes to structures within the body. Now, the EU-funded HISTO-MRI project is taking that even further, developing technologies enabling non-invasive visualisation of individual human cells in real time based on a radical new application for magnetic resonance imaging called high-frequency pulsed MRI.

Groundbreaking tech needed

First, project scientists need to develop new methods for producing magnet coils based on 3D printing technology. The coils need to be able to withstand very high currents at high frequencies.

Novel high-frequency, high-voltage pulsed power sources are also essential to the project’s work. In addition, new pulse sequencing and computer algorithms are needed to deal with, and analyse, the enormous amount of data collected.

The team plans to ‘visualise’ a mouse brain at the neuron level as a proof of concept. Successfully implemented, this new technology could pave the way for transformational research in the neuroscience, bioengineering, biophysics and experimental oncology fields.

The project is establishing the foundations for a new field of research – pulsed MRI in the high-frequency regime – which has the potential to radically advance MRI performance to micron resolution.

Project details

  • Project acronym: HISTO-MRI
  • Participants: Spain (Coordinator), Germany, Denmark
  • Project N°: 737180
  • Total costs: € 3 216 250
  • EU contribution: € 3 216 250
  • Duration: January 2017 to December 2019

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