MACbioIDi Project

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MACbioIDi is a European Union INTERREG territorial cooperation project, in the INTERREG V-A crosborder cooperation programme, INTERREG MAC subprogramme for the MAcaronesia, i.e. the Canary Islands, in Spain, Madeira and Azores, in Portugal, with the neighboring African countries of Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal, and the possible participation of partners from other territories. MACbioIDi Project partners come from the aforementioned territories, the Spanish Mainland and the United States.

This page shows an overview of the MACbioIDi project. The pages about MACbioIDi project activities contain detailed technical information about it.

Go to MACbioIDi project activities.

Background and challenges addressed

The grand challenge addressed by MACbioIDi is to provide a proof-of-concept in order to implement the principles of Smart Specialization Strategies (RIS3) and of EU policies for outermost regions. It is a working test that will show very important practical lessons to design sound public policies for the success of the regional RIS3 and of its transformative goal, by opening avenues to the European Macaronesia towards regional integration and knowledge-based economy. To this extent, the project focus on same of the best scientific capabilities available in the European Macaronesia, boosting a process of entrepreneurial discovery, by which goods and services potentially amenable of being commercialized in global markets are identified and whose design and development is feasible according to current circumstances in the region. This is a deeply interdisciplinary project. Its chance for success is magnified by regionally integrating the European Macaronesia, and establishing tight collaboration with the African third countries eligible: Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal.

The idea to set up this project arouse durig the research stay that its coordinator, Prof. Juan Ruiz Alzola, from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), enjoyed at the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) since September through December 2015, in order to explore the application of astrophysical technology in medicine. This motivated the visit of Prof. Ron Kikinis, director of the Surgical Planning Laboratory (SPL) at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital, and one of the main experts in the World in the field of computational methods for medicine, since January 25 through February 1, 2016. in fact Profs. Kikinis and Ruiz-Alzola have held a collaboration since the late 1990's, when the later was invited, first as visiting research fellow and then as visiting associate professor at the SPL for several years. The SPL participates in MACbioIDi as an associated parter. It is also necessary to mention the collaboration with Prof. José Luis González Mora, from the University of La Laguna (ULL) and director of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Service for Biomedical Research at ULL, who also participates as a main partner in the project, and with Prof. Manuel Maynar Moliner, from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), and director of the Medical Technologies Chair at ULPGC, who leads virtual training for minimally invasive surgical procedures in MACbioIDi. Prof. González Mora leads an important research team at ULL working on functional MRI, MRI-based spectroscopy, transcraneal magnetic estimulation and diffuse optical spectroscopy, and cortex bioelectrical activity. They did a first conceptual design, which was very much enriched by Dr. Sergi Bermudez i Badia, from the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI), another main partner of the project, who participates in the Carnegie Mellon University - Portugal Augmented Assistance program, and an expert in active aging and serious gaming to keep cognitive skills. With this initial settings, the other partners were invited to participate in the project and to contribute to the proposal submitted to INTERREG MAC for evaluation.

Brief summary of the project

MACbioIDi addresses the development, transfer, private investment and global marketing of medical technology. Clinical trials are considered essential for any new product to be developed, particularly for a proposed biomedical termography system, which must prove its diagnostic potential in terms of sensitivity and specificity, according to particular clinical applications.

MACbioIDi promotes the introduction of ICT-based educational products in the education systems of the participant territories, which should will provide options to medical technology enterprises receiveing technology transfer from the project. International investment and marketing strategies will be specifically addressed.

Collaboration and ICT-based medical technology will be carried out and developed by means of a common software platform, largely based on 3D Slicer and its software components. 3D Slicer is an evolving open source software (BSD-like liberal license), developed by an international team led by SPL's director, Prof. Kikinis, over the last 20 years, and widely used across the World. Interacting around 3D Slicer is a magnificent opportunity for a very broad international collaboration, linking the European Union, Africa and the United States by means of the outermost Macaronesian region.

Geographic area for project intervention

MACbioIDi carries out activities in every territory considered by the INTERREG MAC programme, though not all of them with the same features:

  • The needed technology is mainly developed in the Canary Islands and Madeira. Such technology is to be transferred to the remaining territories by means of joint educational programs.
  • Enterprise transfer strategies are mainly designed in the Canary Islands, taking care of their conformance with sart specialization strategies (RIS3).
  • Educational and training programs are dveloped in every territory (Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal) using equipment funded within the project, the common integration software platform based on 3D Slicer, and Internet connections.

Training and educational coordination stays are carried out mainly in the Canary Islands, where university capacities embedded in clinical settings are available though they can also be carried somewhere else whenever it might be convenient.

Technical description of the project contents

Much of the project is based on the availability of specialized open source software, namely, 3D Slicer and its software components, also known as the NA-MIC kit, acronym for the National Alliance for Medical Image Computing, a virtual center funded by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) led by Prof. Ron Kikinis, from the Surgical Planning Laboratory (SPL) at Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. These software components have evolved into mature tools with the contribution of may research groups from all over the World, in a remarkable international collaborative setting. The liberal BSD type license under which this software is released not only allows for having it available worldwide without licensing costs, but also to give freedom to the industry on the commercialization of any product developed on top of its components, with even the possibility of closing source forkas if such is required by the bussiness model.

Moreover, around Slicer there is a significant international virtual community of developers, scientists and users, which make the software evolve continously. The presence of Prof. Kikinis and his colleagues from the SPL in MACbioIDi, as associated partners, is of the utmost relevance for the success of our project, and a very good example of international collaboration among the European Union, the United States and Africa, channeled through the outermost region of the European Macaronesia.

In particular 3D Slicer extension modules are to be developed, in order to integrate available resources that are gegraphically distributed with the project partners. Among them: endovascular, endoscopic and laparoscopic training simulators, intraoperative fluoroscopic C-arm, echograph, magnetic resonance imaging, difuse optical tomography, etc. User interface adaptation to the requirements of MACbioIDi is also carried out such as, for example, for training, outreach or rehabilitation applications with multilingual support, paying special attention to web-based mobile interaction.

Throught the project new human datasets will be acquired for research and educational purposes, for ecample, to build detailed multilingual 3D anatomical atlas with different imaging modalities. In particular, it is intended to scan prehispanic mummies in the Canary Islands to provide virtual content to anthropoly museums.

MACbioIDi also aims to enlarge the biomedical diagnostic kit, by developing thermal mobile sensors to non-invasively monitor human body internal temperature, usin both infrared and microwave imaging.

Educational and training software is to be developed in addition to that for biomedical research and pre-clinical prototypes. To this extent, the participation of museums, in addition to university and researcj centers, is an important asset to assure project outreach.

Finally, technology transfer is a main motivation for this project. In every case technology is assesed and carefully designed for feasible for commercial implementation by enterprises interested in their global delivery.

Main benefitiaries and receivers of the outcome of the project

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Value added by the cooperation

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Project usefulness

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Cooperation among entities within the European Union

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Cooperation with African third countries: Cape Verde, Mauritaine and Senegal

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Foreseen impact

In the mid- and longterm the MACbioIDi will contribute to the promotion of the knowledge economy in the participating regions and, in particular, to the success of their smart especialization strategies (RIS3). It will also pave the way to a technological specialization in the area of medical technology, including education and training in addition to development, based on effectively available regional capacities.

MACbioIDi will also help to strengthen collaboration among participating territories, with new and exciting cooperation and internationalization opportunities for enterprises and a skilled labor force, in addition to provide shared experiences and mutual learning for the policy makers of the involved territories.

Undoubtedly MACbioIDi will also contribute to the promotion of the EUropean MAcaronesian as an international hub for medical technology, linking Europe, America and Africa and, therefore, facilitating knowledge flow, international cooperation and global economic growth.

Innovating and value added aspects

The main value added by MACbioIDi is the international connection of higly different territories, promoting the European Macaronesia as a regional node in the global flow of knowledge and medical high technology (though also adapted to the regional realites) for health care.

It is also an important value added the proof-of-concept for a knowledge-intensive complete value chain, with the already mentioned international links, around a common program including education, research, technology delopment and transfer and global commercialization.

From a technological point of view, the effort to transfer astrophysical technology to medicine is highly innovative, and it relies on an excelent available capacity to make it happen such as it is the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) that provides a differential opportunity.

The development of educational and training medical technology that is made available virtually across geographically distributed is also compelling, since it provides such high-tech training opportunities to territories that could not otherwise have access to them.

Multiplier effects

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Project output perdurability

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Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

MACbioIDi is based on ICTs, and it contributes to reach some of the biggest potentials of the information society. Medical technology is developed and integrated in the project by means of ICTs. It is an ICT platform the proposed facility, based on 3D Slicer and its software components, which makes distant collaboration feasible and enables the many applications addressed by the project, such as educational virtual products, surgical training simulators or serious gaming systems, to name a few. ICTs make it possible to share biomedical data. All of the MACbioIDi project is based on the most advanced possibilities offered by ICTs to build the information society.

Este es un proyecto basado en las TICs y que avanza algunos de los mayores potenciales y beneficios de la sociedad de la información. La tecnología médica se integra y desarrolla haciendo uso preponderante de las TICs. Es un plataforma TIC común la que permite la cooperación científico-tecnológica entre grupos geográficamente distantes, y desarrollar un programa de formación conjunto. Son las TICs las que permiten desarrollar nuevos productos formativos, como los atlas anatómicos virtuales, o los sistemas de interacción de entrenadores quirúrgicos o de sistemas de aprendizaje para neuro-rehabilitación. Son TICs las que permiten que los datos biomédicos se desplacen entre entidades y territorios y se presenten en terminales móviles. Todo este proyecto está centrado en las más potentes posibilidades que oferta la sociedad de la información.