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Brain Cancer Therapy Monitoring using a Novel Quantitative and Rapid Magnetic Resonance Imaging-based Method

Project description

MRI-based monitoring of oncolytic virotherapy in brain tumour models

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common type of fatal brain tumour found in adults. A promising therapeutic approach for GBM involves oncolytic viruses (OV) that selectively infect, multiply in and specifically destroy only tumour cells. Successful oncolytic virotherapy requires frequent non-invasive monitoring of the whole process. The goal of the EU-funded OncoViroMRI project is to develop an MRI-based application for accurate, quantitative and rapid imaging of OV delivery and spread in relevant tumour models. The proposed interdisciplinary methodology involves the genetic modification of the virus for MRI detection, the development of machine-learning methods to enhance the virus image-monitoring process and finally the evaluation using mice models of brain tumour therapy.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common type of brain tumor found in adults and is fatal in all cases. A very promising therapeutic approach for GBM is the use of oncolytic viruses (OVs) that selectively infect, replicate in, and destroy tumor cells, while sparing the surrounding normal cells. Nevertheless, to achieve successful oncolytic virotherapy, frequent non-invasive monitoring of the process must be performed. This is crucial for gaining a better understanding of the interactions between the virus and its tumor-host and predicting a therapeutic response. Thus, the development of a non-invasive method, capable of accurately quantifying the location and extent of the viral spread in the tumor is highly required and is of great importance. Accordingly, the main research goal of this action is to develop a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- based method for accurate, quantitative, and rapid imaging of OVs delivery, and spread in clinically relevant tumor models. The devised interdisciplinary methodology includes: genetically modifying the therapeutic virus to be detectable in MRI; developing machine learning methods to increase the speed, specificity, and sensitivity in image-monitoring the virus; and evaluating the established methods using mice models of brain tumor therapy. The allocated training and research environment is optimal for achieving the proposal goals: an outgoing phase at Harvard Medical School, a secondment at a leading clinical MRI company (Insightec), enhancing translation potential, and a return phase at a leading university (Technion), ensuring the transport of knowledge back to the EU. The envisioned technology could be expanded to various additional clinical conditions, and its dissemination could improve patient care. The unique skill set to be acquired by the experienced researcher, would allow claiming a distinct niche of knowledge, increasing competency to a tenure-track position, and a research career in the EU.


Net EU contribution
€ 269 998,08
The senate building technion city 1
32000 Haifa

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Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)