Project Receives Funding to Fight Breast Cancer

11/09/2015

Six million Euros are going to the HYPMED research project of the University Hospital Aachen and the RWTH Department of Physics.

 

The innovative breast cancer research project HYPMED focuses on the development of a hybrid MRT/PET system for diagnosing breast cancer. The project submission, led by the University Hospital Aachen, received top marks from the reviewers of the Horizon 2020 EU program, as well as an outright recommendation for funding. The review committee highly praised the innovative concept illustrated in the proposal: “The project possesses significant potential. We expect that innovative approaches in the HYPMED project will become prevalent and enable breast cancer to be diagnosed earlier on with the help of targeted MR/PET imaging.”

The HYPMED project ideally combines medical competence with physical-technical and engineering expertise, underlined the head of the project, Univ.-Prof. Dr.med. Christiane Kuhl, who also serves as the director of the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the University Hospital Aachen. “It exemplarily shows that potential the University Hospital can currently offer in the medicine and technology sector.” Together with Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volkmar Schulz, head of the RWTH Teaching and Research Unit: Physics of Molecular Imaging Systems, Kuhl will work on the HYPMED project with different partners from Germany and abroad. “Only two percent of the submissions for the Horizon 2020 program are receiving funding,” explains Prof. Schulz. “It is particularly extraordinary for a project to receive the maximum number of points possible in all categories by the reviewers.”

Early Diagnosis and Targeted Treatment of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer women die of. The search for new possibilities to diagnose the disease early on and provide targeted treatment remains a focus of scientific research. The HYPMED project is pursuing the development of modern equipment for medical imaging – from the physical fundamentals to the engineering construction to clinical trials.

The new examination device will enable a combination of breast MRI and PET, positron emissions tomography, never possible till now, thus redefining the state of technology in this field. “With our approach it will be possible to transform any MR system into a so called hybrid system when necessary, with which we can recognize even the smallest changes or better estimate tumors’ biological aggression,” explained Prof. Kuhl. “Such imaging processes are desperately needed for targeted therapy.”

This applies not only to breast cancer. The new concept will also open up unforeseen diagnosis possibilities for other diseases. “With the success of the HYPMED project we will open up a whole new chapter of medical imaging,” said Prof. Kuhl.