Cardiovascular Research lnstitute Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Maastricht
Maastricht’s molecular imaging program ranges from conjugation technology of novel probes to biological imaging in patients with a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The mission of our center is to deliver cutting edge research through a combination of novel image technologies and molecular biological knowledge, with a focus on cardiovascular molecular imaging. The program is driven by the fact that for a number of cardiovascular diseases, such as the unstable atherosclerotic plaque and heart failure, insufficient diagnostic and therapeutic means exist to fulfill the needs of our patients. The molecular imaging center relies on a strong experimental program (Hofstra/Reutelingsperger), which drives a clinical program focused on biological imaging of disease (Hofstra/Heidendaal). The experimental program is based on innovative optical imaging methodology, which has been developed in our own lab (Nature Medicine 2001). This strategy has resulted in a rapid translation of biological and experimental findings into the clinic, which will be of immediate benefit to our patients. The ability of our research team to translate basic research finding into clinical studies is reflected by a number of studies in patients with cardiovascular disease (e.g. Lancet 2000, JAMA 2001). The main assets of our program are: 1. One of the major strengths of our set-up is the fact that in the combination of the Reutelingsperger lab and the Hofstra lab all necessary key elements for molecular imaging are present, including discovery of novel targets, the development of novel probes, the evaluation of probes in vitro, the evaluation of probes in vivo and the clinical application of the probes (in collaboration with the department of nuclear medicine). 2. In the Reutelingsperger lab extensive expertise on conjugation technology is present, which is vital for the development of novel probes. 3. We have an in house developed molecular imaging platform, which allows for the rapid translation of basic research findings to experimental and clinical applications in a variety of model systems. 4. We have extensive experience in molecular imaging in patients (n=100) with a variety of diseases, using Annexin-A5 based technology. 5. We have state of the art clinical imaging technology, including a high resolution PET-CT (Siemens) and state of the art MRI scanners (Phillips).