With SFI funding, the National Preclinical Imaging Centre will be established to boost clinical trials and help develop new therapeutics.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Dublin (UCD) and NUI Galway-based medical device research centre Cúram have received €3.4m to develop the new National Preclinical Imaging Centre (NPIC).
The funding was awarded as part of the Research Infrastructure Programme from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and will see the NPIC based across RCSI, UCD and Cúram. The centre is the first of its kind in Ireland and its imaging infrastructure aims to support the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics in human disease areas.
All academic, industry and not-for-profit researchers will have access to the imaging resources, which will include a preclinical magnetic resonance (MR) facility and a high-field preclinical MR/chemical imaging platform. This will also incorporate a high-resolution, micro-computed tomography (CT) and optical imaging laboratory.
Responding to future challenges
Prof Annette Byrne, head of the RCSI Precision Cancer Medicine Group, has been named director of the NPIC.
“The NPIC’s high-resolution imaging technologies will allow the research community in Ireland to respond to future international research challenges and will provide important support infrastructure for SFI research centres, Irish academic institutes and industry collaborators,” she said.
“The centre’s resources will allow us to work more collaboratively on research projects with clinicians and on training initiatives in radiology, which are critical elements of translating laboratory research finding to improvements in patient care in clinical settings.”
Prof Abhay Pandit, director of Cúram, has been named as an associate director of the NPIC.
Speaking of the centre’s potential, he said: “It will provide a significant boost to our existing capabilities across academic, industry and clinical networks allowing us to further progress medical device research and its clinical application in each of our disease target areas.”
Last month, RCSI and UCD were awarded a €1.47m SFI Infrastructure Award to develop a facility for highly advanced microscopy in Ireland and purchase two super-resolution microscopes to be housed at the new facility.