The Center for Medical Imaging (CMI) at the UMCG has been awarded a EUR 1.5 million grant from ZonMW for investigation of early signs of three common diseases by low dose CT: lung cancer, lung emphysema and cardiovascular disease. These three diseases together are responsible for the highest mortality and morbidity rates and form the greatest economic burden for healthcare in the Western world. They are therefore also known as the Big 3. The aim of this project, B3CARE, is to detect these diseases in an earlier stage with biomarkers.
The ZonMW grant comes from the IMDI (Innovative Medical Device Initiative) programme, which aims to promote the clinical implementation and application of new medical techniques. B3CARE focuses on CT-based evaluation of early signs of the Big 3 diseases, and builds on other large-scale CMI projects that provide CT-scans of the heart and lungs. According to ZonMW, early detection of these diseases through biomarkers could have a great impact. In addition, ZonMW is very positive about the multidisciplinary composition of the research group and the expertise it represents.
The multi-disciplinary B3CARE team has expertise in radiology, lung diseases, heart diseases, Artificial Intelligence, cost-effectiveness analysis and education. The project is led by Rozemarijn Vliegenthart and Peter van Ooijen. The group cooperates with the University of Twente and the Rotterdam office of Medical Delta. There is also strong commitment from six national and international companies in the fields of imaging and image analysis, machine learning and deep learning; together they contribute EUR 1 million to the project. The ultimate goal of B3CARE is to bring CT-screening ever closer to its implementation, for the purpose of prevention and early treatment of the Big 3.