MRI is an important medical imaging technique providing images of anatomy and physiological processes of the human body. The technique was developed almost 50 years ago, as an alternative to classical x-ray imaging. MRI does not use ionizing radiation; instead, it uses magnetic fields and radio waves. However, the modern MRI, based on ultrahigh magnetic fields – such as 7T (7 Tesla) or higher, sometimes faces image quality challenges due to interferences of the radio-frequency field within the human brain, which makes diagnosis non-conclusive or even impossible.
M-ONE wants to address these issues and develop a 7T metamaterial head coil with the best radio-frequency field homogeneity (B1+ homogeneity) on the market with an equivalent or higher signal-to-noise ratio than the standard 7T head coil.
M-ONE follows the success of the M-CUBE Pathfinder (FET-Open) project, which develops a disruptive metamaterial antenna technology to offer a much better insight on the human body and enable earlier detection of diseases. During the M-CUBE project, two technologies based on metamaterials have been established to homogenize the brain images. Some partners of the M-CUBE project, that also constitute the M-ONE consortium, decided to combine these two patented technologies taking the best of each one in order to develop the M-ONE coil.
M-ONE was selected from the 2019 the EIC Transition to Innovation Activities call (FETPROACT-EIC-06-2019), in the areas of technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment. The project starts in October 2020 and will run for 24 months, until September 2022. Institutions from Switzerland, France and Belgium are collaborating on the project. The coordinating institution is an SME called Multiwave Technologies. This enterprise was the winner of the European ICT Conference 2018 in Vienna, elected as the Best Young SME for their metamaterial technology that improves the signals captured by state-of-the-art MRI systems. Tryfon Antonakakis, CEO of Multiwave Technologies AG said:
“We are pleased that the European Commission has selected the M-One project that allow a European company to lead the development of technologies for the early diagnosis of brain disease in MRI.”
FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.