What is HYBRID about?
HYBRID is an industrial academic initial training network. Funded by the European Comission. We seek to providing essential information to personalized medicine concepts that involve non-invasive imaging procedures. Personalized medicine is the practice of using selected and measured characteristics to guide decisions on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease for patient groups and individual patients, and is representative of a paradigm shift in patient management. To realize the full potential of personalized medicine, highly-specific, reproducible and quantifiable biomarkers are required for comprehensive disease characterization and phenotyping. Such biomarkers can be obtained with a number of techniques, of which non-invasive imaging methods1 have become a focus of attention over the past decade. These imaging methods, including X-ray imaging, computed tomography (CT), nuclear scintigraphy, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), or more complex imaging methods, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) are key to state-of-the-art patient management. In addition to stand-alone imaging modalities, integrated dual-modality imaging methods, also referred to as hybrid imaging (SPECT/CT, PET/CT and PET/MRI), have been proposed and demonstrated to provide more diagnostic information than their individual components.
Combining imaging information with complementary biomarker information (e.g., from liquid biopsies, genotype) and reference standards (e.g., whole-mount histology) promises novel insights into the causes of disease and disease characteristics. For example, early evidence for non-invasive decoding of genotypes from imaging alone was shown in studies in the mid-2000’s. These and similar efforts then culminated in the rapidly advancing field of research, called radiomics as a subspecialty of medical imaging informatics. In radiomics specifically, efforts are made to select, extract and analyse mainly textural features from anatomical imaging modalities for disease characterization. However, many diseases, such as cancer, neurological disorders and cardiovascular events originate from functional and biological events, and furthermore, are likely to be preempted by genetic predispositions.
Therefore, the ultimate goal of this project (HYBRID) is to establish the field of non-invasive disease characterization beyond the narrower vision of radiomics. Specifically, we seek to adopt a more inclusive approach to image analysis, that considers anatomical, functional and hybrid imaging, together with related clinical non-imaging parameters that are extracted from patients during their work-up (e.g., histopathology, genetic profiles). We propose this all-encompassing method, or holistic approach to deriving valuable information from hybrid imaging and non-image related data: HYBRID. We believe HYBRID will help groups of patients in the future by providing means to tailor diagnostic and therapeutic choices to individual patients. This, in turn, will bring healthcare costs down by avoiding futile and costly procedures for those who will not benefit from inappropriate and ineffective treatments.
The HYBRID Mission
Our network brings together international academic, industrial and non-governmental organizations (NGO) partners in a cross-specialty platform to advance imaging sciences as part of personalized medicine with a focus on molecular and hybrid, anato-metabolic imaging. Specifically, we present a consortium of world-leading imaging experts with in-depth knowledge of advanced and hybrid imaging, spanning from the development of imaging methods, the design and construction of imaging systems, to applied imaging in research and clinical routine. All experts are embedded in a clinical environment, thus, being experienced in converting ideas and knowledge into applications fit for clinical use.
The HYBRID Vision
Our vision is to make elevate the concept of personalized medicine by supporting it with novel insights into disease characterization and diagnostic methods that are applicable in clinical routine.