Nanoelectronics research project aims to improve diagnosis and therapy of brain diseases

The partners in a new publicly-funded European research project have announced details of a multinational/multidisciplinary program: 'CSI: Central Nervous System Imaging.' The three year, €14.6million European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council (ENIAC) project aims to achieve 'substantial advances' in state of the art medical 3d imaging platforms by focusing on the diagnosis and therapy of serious diseases of the central nervous system and brain.

Project partners include STMicroelectronics, Philips Electronics and Austriamicrosystems. They believe that key medical imaging technologies will be significantly enhanced by means of major improvement in sensors, equipment and computing platforms to boost early diagnostics and prevention capability while reducing total equipments cost.

Minimally invasive ICT based imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electro encephalography (EEG) play an increasing role in detecting and tracking the evolution of illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy and circulatory problems such as strokes. Part of the ENIAC 'Nanoelectronics for Health and Wellness' sub-program, the CSI project will pursue the simultaneous capturing/extraction of data produced by next generation imaging devices in order to provide the best correlated information to the physician through an innovative and intelligent merging in both timing and spatial resolution.

"This combined and synergistic approach can be made possible only through advances in various technology fields that include sensors, integrated equipment and systems for data fusion and novel data processing platforms that support Teraflop-range computing capability at the doctor's desktop," said project coordinator Salvatore Coffa, group vice president and R&D general manager, Industrial and Multisegment Sector, STMicroelectronics. "The results of the project will anticipate new perspectives to improve patients' support and treatment for central nervous systems diseases, at much lower cost."

The project is organised into a number of work packages, spanning a total duration of 36 months. Three work packages address research and innovation for the different imaging technologies, such as PET, MRI and EEG, while another covers the crucial platform integration and high performance image processing capacity, in both hardware and software. An application work package addresses clinical applications and validation, carried out by EU clinical research departments.

Chris Shaw

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