Uppsala University and EATRIS announce public-private collaboration to improve clinical imaging tools


International multi-site collaboration hub will implement new clinical imaging tools and deliver several projects per year with enhanced speed and throughput.

In Swedish Uppsala universitet i europeiskt samarbete för bättre bilddiagnostik i vården

Uppsala University, Uppsala University hospital (Akademiska Sjukhuset) and the European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) have formed a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to deliver a clinical and scientific expert network for the development and application of innovative imaging methods for inflammatory diseases. In this project Uppsala University and the Uppsala University hospital is represented in the scientific committee by Prof. Gunnar Antoni, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, PET Centrum, Uppsala University hospital.

While existing clinical imaging tools provide useful endpoints in clinical trials, they typically lack sufficient cellular and molecular information to fully understand drug response. Imaging has the potential to interrogate inflammatory cell populations, quantitatively in different tissues. This alliance aims to unlock this potential by delivering new clinical tools. Applying imaging in information-rich, small cohort studies can provide a high, immediate impact to enhance R&D productivity: developing our understanding of disease in the patient; enriching clinical trial cohorts; measuring therapeutic response.

The imaging hub aims to achieve these goals by

  • optimising existing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) technology for drug development
  • translating emerging PET and optical cell-specific probes towards the clinic. The first three projects with a focus around immune cell specific imaging have now been initiated.

The initiative creates a scientific bridge between GSK’s clinical imaging scientists and five leading imaging and experimental medicine research institutes in The Netherlands and Sweden within the EATRIS network: Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, University Medical Center Groningen, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, and Uppsala University and Hospital. To enable experts in the alliance to fully focus on the scientific and technical challenges, EATRIS acts as portfolio manager, playing a key role in developing and administering the legal framework and operations, for optimal speed and efficiency. EATRIS will facilitate initiation of both independent and collaborative projects under a master framework, with up-front auditing and quality agreements.

– This is a great opportunity for Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital to be a part of this immune inflammation imaging hub. With unique expertise, Uppsala will have an important role in this network and the scientific challenging projects to come. We hope for a long-term and productive collaboration with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies of the market, says Mats Larhed, EATRIS National director, Sweden.

Anton Ussi, operations and finance director of EATRIS comments; “In Europe, EATRIS is in a unique position to construct bespoke international research collaborations from concept to execution of contracts. We are very excited about this novel collaboration format, combining GSK’s wealth of knowledge around drug development with the clinical and technical expertise from EATRIS institutions having highly specialised molecular imaging and experimental medicine capacity, all supported with dedicated coordination staff within the EATRIS central support office.”


The European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) is a non-profit, permanent European research infrastructure consortium (ERIC) that comprises more than 90 research institutions in 12 European countries. EATRIS focuses on accelerating medical discoveries to clinical development through innovative use of infrastructure and scientific expertise provided by top-level European academic research centres. EATRIS is active in the fields of ATMP, biomarkers, imaging and tracing, small molecules and vaccines.

More information www.eatris.eu

Ulrika Bäckman
National coordinator EATRIS