Hightlights from health projects
Multidisciplinary measurement solutions for healthcare
For the first time, the European metrology community is working collectively to conduct the healthcare research needed to improve measurements and analysis. EURAMET established a multidisciplinary Health Task Group and a Health research theme under its European Metrology Research Programme to bring together metrology expertise in physics, chemistry and biology to support improved diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. The European Commission and national governments invested €74M in health focused collaborative research, involving research groups in 28 European National Metrology Institutes and Designated Institutes, 46 academic groups and 40 businesses and healthcare providers.
Improved MRI imaging, improved patient safety
New MRI scanners, using high strength 7 Tesla magnetic fields,provide more detailed images and improve diagnoses. But beforethese can be used routinely they must comply with internationalsafety standards. EMRP research developed numerical proceduresto compute radio-frequency fields throughout the patient's body,and measurement tools to check and validate these simulations.As a result, novel protocols can more accurately calculate safeexposure levels and demonstrate that these scanners are safeto use. Together with contributions to a new international IECstandard for safety verification and certification of new MRIscanners, the research has helped to establish guidelines forsafe scanner design, paving the way for their adoption in clinicalpractice.
Innovation in diagnosis
Extracellular vesicles are cell fragments present in body fluids, suchas blood and urine. They have a role in inter-cell communicationand also in the spread of diseases such as cancer. This uniquerole gives them the potential to be used for new non-invasivemethods of early diagnosis, drug efficacy studies and drug delivery.EMRP research identified the optimal procedures for collection,preparation and storage of extracellular vesicles, and standardisedways of measuring their size and population. Many internationalresearch groups have adopted these procedures and haveimproved the comparability of results. A simple extracellular vesicleextraction methods for preparing blood samples for disease studyis now commercially available helping to promote the use of theseimportant inter-cellular disease communicators in diagnosis.
Designing new antibiotics
Diseases are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, limitingtreatment options. Developing new antibiotics is costly and timeconsuming with no guarantee of success or commercial returnon the investment. EMRP research established a new design toolthat can cost-effectively link the molecular structure of a potentialantibiotic to the desired therapeutic effect. This enables theprediction and monitoring of biological processes at the molecularand cellular level for a range of medical applications. The researchhas, in collaboration with the academic community, alreadygenerated a new antibiotic which can be delivered through the skinand has the potential for creating the next-generation of antibiotics.