VIVOIMAG aims to develop a new contrast agent to improve visibility and enable the real-time evaluation of bone grafts using existing scanning and imaging techniques. Such innovation could, in the future, have a substantial impact on the medical field of tissue regeneration.
A growing number of bone grafts are being carried out across the globe in order to repair bone lost or damaged as a consequence of trauma, surgery or the removal of cancerous tissue. Such procedures are expected to become increasingly widespread as Europe’s population ages.
The EU-funded VIVOIMAG project is working to improve the success of bone implants by means of a new contrast agent that would improve the visibility of bone tissue within living biological structures.
This innovative substance will be designed to identify enzymatic changes and send different signals accordingly, which will be detectable with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It would be incorporated into bone grafts prior to implantation of the regenerated tissue into animal models.
For the very first time, it would thus be possible to monitor the potential inflammation, differentiation and ultimately success of the implanted material in living beings – in vivo – rather than just in a test tube. And it could be done using existing MRI technologies, instead of invasive techniques based on biopsies currently used today.
Backed by the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, VIVOIMAG brings together a number of specialists from the medical fields of bone implants, nanoparticles and magnetic resonance imaging. An exchange programme between academic and industrial partners is part of the programme, facilitating knowledge sharing, collaborative work and uptake of the project’s results.
In view of the importance of bone tissue engineering, several dissemination and training activities are planned in order to make the project’s insights and outcomes available to the wider scientific community and society at large.