On October 10-11, 2019, the AlternativesToGd consortium met for a kick-off meeting at the EIBIR office in Vienna following the official project start on October 1st.
The AlternativesToGD project will develop on a new type of contrast agent for imaging using MRI and involves 10 partners, including EIBIR. The project will run for 36 months, and is scheduled to conclude in September 2022.
Recently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommended suspension and warning labels for the use of contrast agents (CAs) that are Gadolinium (Gd)-bearing CAs (GBCA) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These decisions, although in the absence of any clinical evidence, relate to potential major health concerns resulting from long-term accumulation of Gd containing species in the patients’ bodies. This sends a clear message to carefully consider the necessity of each contrast injection in individuals undergoing an MRI scan. However, for a number of diagnostic procedures such as tumour characterisation, the use of a CA is often essential. The accumulation of Gd in different organs (including the brain) and GBCAs related diseases requires the scientific community to seek radically new alternatives. The AlternativesToGd vision is to identify and validate radically new compounds and technologies as alternatives to GBCAs. Investigated compounds and technologies will be tested in animal models of disease and the most promising ones identified for further clinical development. If successful, the envisaged outcome will radically impact the field, likely leading to a paradigm shift in MR based diagnosis thus being highly beneficial to society. The AlternativesToGd consortium will develop a new class of MRI CAs that will be metal-free, safe, and completely washed out by the human system after injection. The agents consist of small endogenous molecules, which will be hyperpolarised to ensure high sensitivities even at very low doses. A major challenge and risk arises from the rapid decay of the hyperpolarised (HP) state. As enabling technologies, AlternativesToGd focuses on three leading and innovative hyperpolarisation techniques and on unique agents showing HP state lifetimes sufficiently long to enable diagnostic contrast-enhanced MRI approaches with so far unmet sensitivity.
Prof. Rachel Katz-Brull – Hadassah Medical Organization
Prof. Silvio Aime – University of Torino
Dr. Francesca Reinieri – University of Torino
Prof. Jan Henrik Ardenkjaer-Larsen – Denmark Technical University
Prof. Volker Rasche – Universität Ulm
Prof. Damien Tyler – University of Oxford (remote)
Dr. Julien Rivoire – RS2D
Dr. Ingo Lieberwirth – Max-Planck Gesellschaft Mainz
Prof. Kevin Brindle – University of Cambridge
Prof. Angelo Bifone – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (remote)
Dr. Pamela Zolda – EIBIR
Peter Gordebeke – EIBIR