Briefly describe your background & experience, and how you came to work on Nanother
I have been working in computer-assisted technologies for healthcare for more than 12 years, participating in R&D projects at national and international levels, in collaboration with universities, industries and clinical institutions. Our expertise in medical image analysis has led us to get invited in Nanother, as an IT partner answering the software needs of the project.
Tell us a bit about your organisation, the participation of your organisation in Nanother & your personal role in the project
Vicomtech-IK4 is a Spanish private research centre specialised in multimedia technologies. One of our main application areas is the healthcare industry, focusing on the development and integration of medical image analysis and bioinformatics methods. Within Nanother, we develop and integrate computational technologies and software tools for the MRI, microMRI, SPECT and PET images generated within the project. My main role is the coordination of the SP3-Targeting & Diagnostics.
What are your expectations of the project?
Obviously, on a general point of view, we are hoping to develop the first nanoparticle system that will be used as a therapeutic agent against cancer. This would mean a real breakthrough in biomedical research, but also significant progress in improving quality of life of patients.
As SP Leader, what are the most difficult or critical aspects of managing SP partners, and the most fruitful or pleasing aspects?
As far as I am concerned, the most challenging aspect of managing an SP in such project is to coordinate scientists of very different background and disciplines (chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, IT). On the other hand, multidisciplinary work can become very attractive, opening up to new technical and intellectual approaches.
Are there already some concrete & interesting results for your organisation?
We have established good collaboration with the partners acquiring the images in SP3: RMSB and TEIA. We have investigated computational algorithms and automated tools for the MRI and SPECT images provided by both partners, and are developing customized software answering their needs. We are hoping to jointly exploit the results, which can be of high interest for the medical equipment manufacturers.
IPR issues are essential to large consortia such as NANOTHER, integrating universities, SMEs, research centres & large industrial partners. In what ways do you think that the exploitation seminar helped to clarify the IPR situation for all partners?
The exploitation seminar has helped to emphasize the need to analyse IPR issues early in the project. It has also helped to raise awareness on the European Commission expectations towards the exploitation of FP7 research results. On the other hand, IPR remains a difficult issue that every individual partner should seriously analyse according to its own situation.
What are currently / will be the most promising results in your SP?
We are currently testing several nanoparticles for targeting, some of them have already been rejected as others seem very promising. We are of course hoping that at least one of them will go through the process of selection and reaches the scale-up phase.
Would you participate in another European project?
Definitely yes. We have already been participating in several European projects, mainly in the ICT theme. Working in a different FP7 theme and in a multidisplinary consortium such as Nanother has opened to us new opportunities and perspectives. Our ambition is now to lead a European project.
As SP leader, you have been involved in the project since its conception & set-up in 2007 - what is your view on the project & it’s progress today?
The project is going as planned. Several difficulties have been encountered on the way but have been successfully overcome. The main challenge was probably to bring 18 multidisciplinary partners from 9 European countries working together towards a common objective. This has been successfully handled, thanks to strong coordination capabilities of the Nanother management team, GAIKER and ALMA.