The purpose of this proposal is to advance diagnostic applications of infrared microspectroscopy and functional imaging using synchrotron light sources. Existing networks between biologists, clinicians and synchrotron scientists are already making impressive progress in IR microspectroscopy of cells and tissues leading to the identification of spectroscopic markers of diagnostic relevance. However, the European dimension is missing in these efforts because very few countries have synchrotron IR microspectroscopy facilities. In order to further explore and advance the diagnostic possibilities of infrared microspectroscopy and imaging using synchrotron sources, there is a need to coordinate this research effort by networking the existing centers of excellence on the European scale and adding further necessary multidisciplinary expertise. This includes promotion of access to synchrotron facilities for experts from countries without their own facility, especially candidate countries. Management aspects are important in this proposal, in order to avoid wastage through duplication of effort, to promote methodological validation by adding a multicentric quality control perspective, and thus to facilitate transfer of this emerging technology into clinical practice. To this end, we plan a disease-oriented, clinician-driven approach rather than a technology-driven approach. The overall goal of the proposal and chief deliverable will be a report assessing the potential of synchrotron IR microspectroscopy for diagnosis on a per-disease basis, and making recommendations for further action in the sense of defining the future Framework Programme.
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