The HYPERImage project will develop a novel hybrid system for simultaneous whole-body PET/MR imaging for humans. It will advance the required Time-of-Flight (ToF) PET technology, and the software for MR mediated compensation of motion artefacts. The hybrid system will be validated in pre-clinical and initial clinical studies, for exemplary applications in cardiovascular diseases, and in breast cancer as one of the most relevant applications in oncology. For latter application, the concept will be extended from pure imaging towards image-guided therapy. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is the most sensitive molecular imaging modality. Hybrid PET/CT systems using Computer Tomography (CT) to provide the anatomical reference for lesion localization have evolved to be the best choice for a number of applications in cardiology and oncology. However, PET/CT has drawbacks and limitations: CT is associated with radiation dose and lacks soft tissue contrast, and PET suffers from restrictions in small lesion detectability, both due to motion artefacts during the scan, and due to detector limitations. A hybrid combination of ToF-PET with a 3T MR has the potential to overcome these shortcomings, by fully exploiting the superior soft-tissue contrast of MR in combination with a new MR-compatible solid-state PET detector technology, and a sophisticated motion compensation enabled by concurrent acquisition of both MR and time-stamped PET data. In addition, the versatility of MR allows imaging of supplementary functional parameters like temperature, elasticity, and diffusion, enabling this new hybrid imaging concept to open up new fields of applications in therapy guidance and therapy response monitoring. The consortium consists of one large company, one SME, three academic partners and two research institutes from five different EU countries. It combines leadership in technology with pioneer experience in using biomedical imaging for diagnosis and therapy monitoring.
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