The activities within Amphora are subdivided into different work packages led by different members of the consortium.
The first part of the project (WP2) deals with the design and development of targeted, radiosensitive microbubbles. It is led by the University of Tor Vergata and involves several actors (Biomedical MRI Unit at KULeuven, DoseVue, IMEC). The physical, chemical and functional characterisation of the contrast agents will be carried out by three actors, namely the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Erasmus MC and IMEC, the leader of this work package. The effects of ionising radiation on the microbubble properties will be assessed. The Ultrasound Contrast Agents will also be characterised acoustically, and their acoustic properties will be used to fit a microbubble dynamic model to the microbubble populations that are being studied. Particularly, the effects of ionising radiation on the acoustic signatures of microbubbles is of interest. This work package is led by Erasmus MC in collaboration with the laboratory of non-linear wave spectroscopy at KULeuven Campus KULAK. The laboratory of Cardiovascular Imaging and Dynamics in KULeuven will develop a robust approach for the acoustic readout of exposure doses, by modelling of ultrasound backscatter, signal processing optimisation, and pulse design. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, together with the Cardiovascular Imaging and Dynamics group, will be in charge of the development of the ultrasound system. Finally, the bio-compatibility of the designed microbubbles will be assessed on cell cultures and in animal models by the Biomedical MRI Unit, the laboratory of Experimental Radiotherapy, and the Stadius Center for Dynamical Systems, Signal Processing and Data Analytics, and the concept of UCA dosimeters will be validated in vivo.
The project started in November 2017 and will last four years. The project plan and list of deliverables can be found below. A close collaboration between all members of the consortium is foreseen to exploit the multidisciplinary nature of the Amphora project.