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Consortium Secures 1M€ in Funding for Lung Transplant Research
February 11, 2014, Leuven, Belgium. The Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) has announced that a consortium, which counts Materialise among its members, has been awarded a research grant of 1M€ to conduct research to increase survival rates after lung transplantation through Functional Respiratory Imaging (FRI). The international consortium, led by the Antwerp-based company FLUIDDA, also includes the University of Antwerp (Antwerp, Belgium), the Columbia Medical Center (New York, USA) and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (Philadelphia, USA).
Only 50% of the patients receiving lung transplantation reach 5-year survival. The major cause of mortality is the rejection of the transplanted organ. The current lung function tests are often not sensitive enough to detect the early signs of rejection. Functional Respiratory Imaging (FRI), a state-of-the-art technology developed by FLUIDDA, has the potential to detect signs of rejection in an early stage thereby increasing the chance of survival through better therapy. The funding will be used to support the technical developments and proof of concept (POC) clinical studies. When the results are positive, the scope of the project will be expanded through collaborations with additional clinical centers and industrial partners to offer the technology on a larger scale.
The director of Materialise's biomedical engineering unit, Dr. Koen Engelborghs had this to say about the research, "FRI is a nice example of how new technologies for engineering on anatomy are being developed using Materialise's Mimics Innovation Suite. We're excited and confident about applying our know-how, together with the consortium, to take this a step further by bringing engineering on anatomy into a clinical setting."
FLUIDDA's CEO Dr. Jan De Backer stated, "This project is very important for us and our partners as it could result in the first application of our FRI technology in the clinical practice, providing in a significant benefit for many patients. Until now FRI has been successfully used in drug development for respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD."
With its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, and branches worldwide, Materialise has been playing an active role in the field of Additive Manufacturing since 1990. In addition to having one of the world's largest capacities of Additive Manufacturing equipment, Materialise also enjoys a stellar reputation as a provider of innovative software solutions. The advantages of Additive Manufacturing have been used by Materialise to develop unique solutions that make a world of difference for its many customers with their prototyping, production, and medical needs. These customers range from large companies in the automotive, consumer electronics, and consumables sectors; to famous hospitals, research institutes, and clinicians; to individual consumers.