Six CIMIT Researchers Awarded Prestigious
Science Bridges Grants
UK-US Collaborations to leverage MIMIT-CIMIT relationship
Created to increase the opportunity for collaboration between US and UK scientists, the Science Bridges Awards are a new way the UK government is funding innovation. Science Bridges awards seek to accelerate the deployment of research knowledge, deepen and strengthen current research links, enable the acquisition of new skills and improve technology transfer by building science and innovation bridges between world-class universities and high-tech businesses
In all, 1.3 M Pounds British Sterling has been awarded to the MIMIT-CIMIT collaboration including seven cross-border teams.
Three programmes will receive $150,000 each in support over twelve to eighteen months.
Programme 1: Identification of pathogen-specific biomarkers in ventilator-associated pneumonia
James Comolli, Senior Scientist Biomedical Engineering (Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Boston) and Ashley Woodcock, Professor of Respiratory Medicine (University of Manchester) and Consultant Respiratory Physician (University Hospital South Manchester)
Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) is the second leading cause of hospital-acquired infection with mortality rates ranging from 20% up to 70% when multi-drug resistant or particularly invasive pathogens are involved. Unfortunately, current diagnostic methods are inadequate and do not identify the causative pathogens in a timely manner, often resulting in delayed and non-specific treatment. Expertise in both the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and University of Manchester is being utilised to develop a rapid, non-invasive test for VAP.
Programme 2: Imaging of functional dynamics of the lung
Ron Kikinis, Director of Surgical Planning Laboratory (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston) and Professor of Radiology (Harvard Medical School) and Geoff Parker, Professor of Biomedical Imaging and Director Biomedical Imaging Institute (University of Manchester)
Clinicians frequently need to be able to asses organ function in a disease state or following trauma and also to identify regional abnormalities or lesions that could be the target of further investigation or therapy. The aim of the project is to investigate the use of two separate imaging modalities in order to provide information of both high temporal and spatial resolution. University of Manchester expertise in imaging will be complemented by the sophisticated software platform developed at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School to address this clinical need.
Programme 3: Multi-compartment carriers for fighting inflammation
Mark Grinstaff, Associate Professor Biomedical Engineering & Chemistry (Boston University) and Nicola Tirelli, Professor of Polymers and Biomaterials (University of Manchester)
Currently the number of patients with psoriasis is increasing, with topical application of generic corticosteroids by far the most common treatment. Unfortunately such treatment has undesirable side-effects, so driving the need for a novel approach to treating the disease. Anti-inflammatory cytokines have also shown promise, but their activity is too short-lived. By combining the expertise at the University of Manchester and Boston University, the aim is to develop a multi-compartmental carrier that can deliver both anti-inflammatory cytokines and steroids to the desired site of action and thereby provide a better treatment for patients with psoriasis.
In addition, four $75,000 awards have been made to the following teams:
1) Using PET and diffusion weighted MRI in the OR to facilitate glioma tumour management
Karl Herholz, Director of the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre (University of Manchester) and Professor of Clinical Neuroscience (Salford Royal Hospital), and Ron Kikinis, Director of Surgical Planning Laboratory (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston) and Professor of Radiology (Harvard Medical School)
High-grade gliomas aggressively infiltrate normal brain tissue and therefore cannot be treated successfully by resection alone but require additional radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In contrast, low-grade gliomas are often left untreated under close monitoring. Thus, the choice of proper treatment depends heavily on tumour grading which is typically done according to histopathological criteria in biopsy samples. Unfortunately, gliomas are often heterogeneous, which can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. The imaging expertise at the University of Manchester alongside the sophisticated software platform developed at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School will be combined to enable image guided biopsies. In locating the most malignant part of the tumour for biopsy, the histological assessment and grading should therefore become more accurate.
2) Reducing ventilator-associated lung injury through the development of continuous non-invasive image guidance at the bedside
William Lionheart, Professor of Applied Mathematics (University of Manchester) and Gerhard Wolf, Associate in Critical Care Medicine/Anesthesia (Children's Hospital, Boston)
There is emerging evidence that the ventilation strategy used in acute lung injury (ALI) makes a significant difference in outcome and that an inappropriate ventilation strategy may result in ventilator-associated lung injury. Paediatric acute lung injury (ALI) has a high mortality rate (22%) when compared with the overall mortality of paediatric intensive care unit patients. Developing novel modes of lung protective ventilation is therefore urgently needed to prevent ventilator induced lung injury. The expertise at both the Children's Hospital in Boston and the University of Manchester will be utilised to develop a continuous and non-invasive imaging method to guide mechanical ventilation.
3) Objective voice quality analysis by spectrogram entropy
Robert Hillman, Co-Director & Research Director at Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (Massachusetts General Hospital)and Associate Professor (Harvard Medical School) and Jarrod Homer, Consultant Otolaryngologist and ENT Surgeon (University of Manchester, Manchester Royal Infirmary, and Manchester's Christie Hospital)
Voice disorders may be caused by voice-strain (due to speaking or singing), vocal cord damage, infection, side-effects of inhaled steroids (as used to treat asthma) or more serious disease including laryngeal cancer and neurological disease. The resulting loss of voice quality may be measured subjectively according to a well known standard referred to as 'GRBAS', a subjective measurement that relies on highly trained personnel. Utilising expertise and knowledge of Manchester and Massachusetts General Hospital based groups, the aim is to develop an objective digitised method to evaluate voice patterns and to aid screening/monitoring for early intervention in voice disorders.
4) Making an 'IMPACT' (Integrated Measuring Platform for identifying and testing Anti-Cancer Therapeutics) on paediatric cancers
Guy Makin, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology (University of Manchester and Manchester's Christie Hospital) and Muhammad Zaman, Assistant Professor (Dept. Biomedical Engineering and Medicine, Boston University)
The overall survival for childhood cancer has improved significantly over the last 30 years and nearly 75% of children with cancer are now cured. However, for certain types of malignancy, survival remains stubbornly low. Historically, access to novel agents has been relatively poor for children with cancer. However, changes in marketing regulations now require investigation of possible activity of such novel agents against childhood disease, before licensing is granted. This has driven the need for an in vitro system which can mimic both the tumour and microenvironment, and enable testing of novel agents. Development of such a complex in vitro system for paediatric tumours will be based on the knowledge and skill base from Boston University alongside the paediatric clinical expertise from University of Manchester.
CIMIT is a clinically-based consortium of Boston-area hospitals and engineering schools, including Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University, Boston University Medical Campus, Childrens Hospital Boston, Newton Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, Partners HealthCare, and VA Boston Healthcare System, CIMIT supports translational research by multidisciplinary teams for medical device and clinical technology system applications, and through seed funding and facilitation attracts world-class clinicians, scientists and engineers working together with industry and government to accelerate the clinical impact of innovative technologies.
MIMIT™ is a consortium comprising the University of Manchester and six Greater Manchester NHS Trusts.