The FORCE project aims at developing an innovative in vivo medical imaging method capable of visualizing and quantifying a crucial parameter in oncology: the interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) within tumours. IFP plays a paramount role in therapy planning and control, as it determines drug uptake and lowering IFP indicates successful therapy. The FORCE project will therefore significantly contribute to improved monitoring and assessment of therapy response. This will lead ultimately to better health outcomes.
The work plan is structured along four main objectives:
- Develop novel Magnetic Resonance Force (MRF) Imaging modality
- Develop MRF derived imaging biomarkers for predicting therapy response
and metastatic potential
- Systematically assess the therapy planning and monitoring potential of MRF
derived imaging biomarkers in a series of pre-clinical and clinical contexts
- Develop mechanosignaling technology to influence cell behaviour
The concept of the FORCE project is based upon a pioneering combination of multi-wave physics: the connection of MRI, acoustic sound, and quasi-static deformation allows deducing the presence of acting forces inside the body, thus the determination of pressure. As there is currently no reliable, robust, and quantitative method for measuring pressure inside tumours, FORCE represents a paradigm shift for improved clinical decisions regarding cancer therapy management.
The FORCE project builds on existing cutting edge MRI/MR-elastography software and hardware. It represents a truly translational project as it starts with the fundamental physics of tissue rheology and ends up with clinical MRI protocols for breast cancer, liver cancer, and brain tumour patients. The project spans therefore from “theory to bench to bedside” and from “idea, to application, to market”.
The project is divided into 11 Work Packages (WPs). All WPs are interrelated and feed into each other in a synergetic way.