Victorian imaging network meets to map out innovative future

[Pictured: VBIC Annual Network Meeting guest speakers Prof Lindy Fitzgerald and Prof Amy Brodtmann] 

Innovation, industry partnerships and commercialisation will be among the topics discussed at a meeting bringing together NIF’s capabilities from around Victoria on November 24. 

The annual Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability (VBIC) network meeting will attract researchers, clinicians and industry partners to Monash Biomedical Imaging in Melbourne. 

Participants will represent NIF nodes at the University of Melbourne, Monash, Swinburne, the Florey, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute and La Trobe University. 

Neurologist Prof Amy Brodtmann will draw on her interests in imaging, stroke and dementia to present research findings from the Cognitive Health Initiative at Monash and Alfred Health  

Guest speaker Prof Melinda Fitzgerald from Curtin University and the Perron Institute will present on a national initiative she heads as CEO, called Connectivity, the Mission for Traumatic Brain Injury.  The initiative includes use of MRI and clinical biomarkers in a national trial to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of traumatic brain injury. 

Sessions at the meeting will also cover the work of imaging experts in research programs employing ultra-high field MRI, CT and PET; as well as presentations from experts in industry partnering and commercialisation. 

NIF Chief Executive Officer Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the meeting would provide a platform for early career researchers and emerging leaders, a showcase for new-generation imaging, and opportunities for important in-person networking. 

It would also enable discussion on the NIF Imaging Roadmap, including supporting innovation and ensuring Australia’s international comparative advantage, Prof Goscinski said. 

The roadmap will add to the substantial impact and jobs that VBIC and NIF have already delivered, with a recent report estimating more than $350 million in economic activity for Victoria. 

VBIC nodes have grown to employ more than 150 FTE imaging staff, and partner with more than 90 organisations, including Austin Health, CSIRO, Melbourne Health, Mental Health Research Institute and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. 

Capital investments have reached $37 million, providing access to human and preclinical MRI and PET-CT, preclinical DEXA scanners and confocal endomicroscopy, as well as magnetoencephalography and nuclear scintigraphy. 

A massive $235 million in major grants has been secured, enabling new research projects in cancer, infection and inflammation, brain function, epilepsy, dementia and even long-term aspirin use. 

Click here for more information about the VBIC network meeting and full programme.

Cancer diagnosis and targeted therapies to flow from new NIF investment

Cancer research will advance and personalised treatment will come a step closer, with installation of NIF’s new nanoScan PET/MRI 3T camera for preclinical studies.  

The camera is at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) and represents a significant national investment as part of NIF expertise and critical mass in molecular imaging and nuclear theranostics.  

Nuclear theranostics offers simultaneous imaging and therapy, enabling researchers and clinicians to see where targeted medicines go in the body in real time, identify drugs most likely to succeed and select patients who will benefit. 

It has the potential to improve quality of life and decrease health-related costs.  

NIF Fellow Dr Ingrid Burvenich from ONJCRI and La Trobe University has conducted MRI scans using the camera as part of work to develop diagnostic tools and cancer therapies. 

“We found that the high field 3T magnet has fast scanning times and high-quality images,” Dr Burvenich said.  

“We can already see that we have excellent delineation of organs and that will enable us to better identify specific tumours in the brain, abdominal organs and other cancer sites.  

“With the new camera, we will be able to explore new areas of cancer biology, metabolism and neuroscience, and also develop new imaging probes and therapeutics.  

“In our studies we answer questions such as: does the drug reach the tumour, is enough drug going into the tumour to be effective, and are there risks for toxicity?”  

Dr Burvenich’s tumour-targeting work involves collaboration with ONJCRI’s Centre for Research Excellence in Brain Cancer, focusing on research models that reflect the disease as it is seen in human patients.   

“We are very excited to try the new camera to image brain tumours to assist with developing new therapeutics.   

“Other ONJCRI collaborators are working on genetic models that develop tumours in the stomach or the intestine and surgical models for pancreatic cancer.  

“Increasing the visibility of such tumours will potentially make a difference in this research in monitoring how tumours establish, grow and respond to newly-developed therapeutics.  

“Our new camera will also assist with advancing research in heart disease, the brain and pharmaceutical drug development – especially in developing radiopharmaceuticals, medicines with radioactive isotopes that can be used as for both diagnosis and treatment.  

“We can evaluate the radiopharmaceuticals in preclinical models and then progress them into human trials.” 

NIF is investing in improved health outcomes through novel medical products, technologies and practices – including human imaging technologies, high value therapeutics and cutting-edge pharmaceutical treatments.  

Nuclear theranostics is increasingly being used for cancer imaging, detection and treatment, in clinical trials, and in research and development to counter a growing global incidence from 19.3 million new cases in 2020 to 28.4 million in 2040. 

It has a promising future, with estimated market valuations for 2021 ranging from $1.7 billion to $6 billion and annual growth ranging from 4 to 19 per cent within eight years.  

Imaging critical to brain cancer treatment

Imaging critical to brain cancer treatment: Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute to collaborate with Telix in ground-breaking new study

National Imaging Facility (NIF) Node partner, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) will work with globally recognised biopharmaceutical company Telix to evaluate the use of a novel radiotracer (O-(2-[18F]fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine or 18F-FET) to image patients with glioblastoma (GBM), a type of brain cancer, with positron emission tomography (PET) (FET-PET).

The collaboration between ONJCRI and Telix will enable a synergistic approach to improving the lives of people with GBM, which is the most common primary brain cancer in adults.

The ONJCRI is a global leader in the development of immunotherapies, targeted therapeutics, and personalised cancer medicine, while Telix is focused on the development of clinical-stage products that address significant unmet medical need in oncology and rare diseases.

The FET-PET in Glioblastoma (FIG) study will recruit up to 210 recently diagnosed adult GBM patients at 10 sites around Australia, aiming to definitively establish the role of FET-PET in the management of patients with GBM. The FIG Study is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the Australian Brain Cancer Mission (ABCM), and the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, and also involves the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) and the Australasian Radiopharmaceutical Trials Network (ARTnet). 

The NIF’s LaTrobe University – ONJCRI Node Director, and Clinical Trial Co-Chair, Prof Andrew Scott AM said the study would utilise imaging to bring critical new treatment opportunities to light and have potentially life-saving impacts.

“Imaging is integral to effective diagnosis, staging and determination of the treatment pathway for all cancers, but is vitally important in GBM which is very aggressive and can be difficult to treat,” Professor Scott said.

“This ground-breaking study will use 18F-FET, a new PET tracer which can show us if tumour cells are active. This is a more functional imaging technique compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the current standard imaging tool, and could potentially provide a powerful imaging biomarker for the management of brain cancer and improve survival rates.”

National Imaging Facility CEO, Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the collaboration was an exciting opportunity to see the life-changing impacts that cutting-edge imaging capabilities can have on people living with debilitating illnesses.

“Medical imaging plays a critical role in the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of life-threatening diseases like GBM,” Prof Goscinski said.

“It is excellent to see Australian-led research use imaging with the aim to improve the treatment of patients with GBM and save lives.

“It’s exciting for NIF’s LaTrobe University – ONJCRI node to be involved in an industry partnership that has the potential to expand the country’s economic growth, and position Australia as a global leader in cancer research,” he said.

You can read more about the announcement here.

NIF’s capabilities grow with new Nodes

The National Imaging Facility’s (NIF) capabilities are expanding with three leading research institutions joining the national network, La Trobe University’s school of Cancer Medicine, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), Macquarie University, and the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Imaging Centre.

The new nodes will further diversify NIF’s network to include research capability and training in rural and remote communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities and cutting-edge molecular imaging for treating cancer and cognitive decline. The NIF network will grow from 10 national nodes to 13 across Australia and will strengthen research expertise in dementia, brain concussion imaging, cancer biology, neurodegenerative diseases, molecular imaging probes for cancer, and drug development.

NIF’s first regional node, located in Newcastle is a joint partnership with the HMRI Imaging Centre and the University of Newcastle, and will provide direct links with regional and rural communities, facilitated through the University’s established regional research engagement programs, improving health research outcomes in remote and vulnerable populations and support Aboriginal communities whose health priorities include deafness, renal disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.

“The HMRI Imaging Centre is delighted to be joining NIF. We deliver important translational imaging research for the wider Hunter region and bridge the gap between urban, regional and rural communities. The facility is an international leader in human foetal imaging and spectroscopy and supports flagship translational projects in cancer, dementia, psychosis, inflammatory diseases and cardiorespiratory disease” said Professor Michael Breakspear, Node Co-director from the University of Newcastle and the HMRI Imaging Centre.

Associate Professor Saad Ramadan, Node Co-director from the University of Newcastle and the HMRI Imaging Centre, said the centre facilitates fundamental discovery research and technical developments in sequence optimization and implementation and its partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) and NSW Regional Health Partners. The facility supports multiple institutional, community and industrial partners including Corvia Medical Inc. and Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA).

The new Macquarie University Node provides national access to pre-clinical medical and research imaging capabilities within MQ Health and has a full biomedical imaging suite including (x-ray, CT, MRI, PET) located within Macquarie University Hospital (MUH); and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and related electrophysiological recording technologies located within the Australian Hearing Hub. The new NIF node has the only paediatric MEG facility in Australia and is one of only two in the country.

Macquarie University’s Professor of Radiology, John Magnussen said the facility supports studies of children who have developmental disorders and has integrated radiology and molecular imaging facilities that allows for time critical clinical research to inform and improve patient recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

“This environment allows access to high-quality imaging techniques and datasets with relevant clinical information and supports dementia brain imaging that will inform a national framework for concussion imaging and capacity for pharma-sponsored clinical trials. There are more than 100 actives trials, which give broad access to the community and researchers and we are thrilled to be part of NIF providing open access to imaging expertise,” Professor Magnussen said.

La Trobe’s University’s School of Cancer Medicine, ONJCRI is at the frontier of cancer medicine, with over 200 ongoing clinical trials, providing patients with access to experimental and breakthrough treatments including immunotherapies, targeted therapies and personalised medicine.

The new La Trobe-ONJCRI node will provide an integrated molecular imaging program that extends from laboratory research, including biology, chemistry, biotechnology, through to novel probe radiochemistry and validation in animal imaging (PET and MRI) prior to human trials.

Professor Andrew Scott AM, Director of the La Trobe-ONJCRI node said “We are excited to be joining NIF. This exciting partnership and the installation of a preclinical PET/3T MRI scanner in a dedicated imaging suite within our facility will enable ongoing and enhanced basic and translational research to be performed, linked to our world-class radiochemistry and human PET facilities on site. With the increased capacity we look forward to further collaborations with academia, Pharma and Biotech to facilitate research, drug development and clinical studies”.

NIF’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Wojtek James Goscinski said NIF is excited to welcome three outstanding facilities to our network which will provide Australian researchers with access to a range of unique instruments across three new sites, and Australia’s network of applied imaging expertise, with this addition, National Imaging Facility capabilities span 14 sites.

“I’d like to welcome the three nodes and their international imaging research leaders to the NIF network – their extensive and diverse research capability and expertise will improve Australians’ access to better healthcare, foster socio-economic equity for rural and remote communities and inform our global imaging communities on world-class research in dementia, brain and concussion imaging, cancer biology and drug development”.

National Imaging Facility is funded by the Australian Government, under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), State Governments, and its partners.

[/tatsu_text][/tatsu_column]
[/tatsu_row][/tatsu_section]
Privacy Settings
Youtube
Vimeo
Google Maps