Siemens supports the founding of the first "European Institute of Molecular Imaging"

Siemens Medical Solutions (Med) wants to accelerate leading-edge research in Germany. To this end, the company became heavily involved in the foundation of the first "European Institute of Molecular Imaging - EIMI" at the Westphalian Wilhelms University Muenster, Germany. Based on a five year grant Siemens adds a wide spectrum of services to the institute. The EIMI is to begin work as early as in October 2006. The university expects that already existing competencies in molecular imaging will be further reinforced, especially through the use of innovative molecular imaging techniques (e.g. MR-PET).

The University as well as the University Clinic of Muenster, Germany, are among the forerunners in the research of molecular imaging. In June 2005, the interdisciplinary special research field "Molecular cardiovascular Imaging – MoBil" was established involving four different faculties. This is the first center of competency for molecular imaging in Germany that was financed by the German Research Foundation. Against this background and in view of the founding of EIMI, Siemens considers working with the institute as an excellent opportunity.

The new EIMI will focus on two areas. One area will concentrate on the development of specific targeted substances, so-called biomarkers, the distribution of which can be imaged in the patient. These molecules help trace certain pathological changes. The second area focuses on developing the necessary technical possibilities as well as their preclinical evaluation. This allows Siemens to access knowledge in the area of cardiovascular diseases as well as to new developments of EIMI, for example, biomarkers and algorithms.

Research findings of molecular medicine and innovative diagnostic procedures are currently giving rise to a transformation from the heavily experience-based, reactive medicine of the past to a knowledge-based medicine of the future supported by cause and effect relationships. Preventive screening and early detection combined with a focused, personalized and highly effective therapy will gradually replace waiting on symptoms and the often invasive treatment, frequently accompanied by major side effects, for an already manifested illness. This development can contribute a great deal to significantly improving the quality of healthcare while reducing the costs. The tasks to be handled on this path required multidisciplinary competencies. In the area of cardiovascular imaging, Muenster offers the best prerequisites for this.

In light of the technical expertise in cardiovascular molecular imaging at the University of Muenster and the huge diagnostic challenges in the cardiovascular field (e.g. molecular imaging of atherosclerotic plaques), EIMI will primarily focus the scientific work on the development of new molecular imaging approaches to study molecular processes in vessels and the heart. For this purpose, EIMI will be divided in to two large working areas, namely "Target Biology & Chemistry" and "Technology & Imaging". An elected advisory board, the so-called "Joint Review Committee" with members from both partners, will have the goal of developing studies, coordinating research activities and sharing study data.

At the University of Muenster there is a broad expertise in the different branches of cardiovascular molecular imaging. This ranges from cardiovascular expertise (one of the main scientific foci the medical faculty), to expertise in chemistry and labeling chemistry in the chemistry, physics, and medical faculty, all the way to specialized knowledge in image generation and analysis in the faculties of mathematics and information technology, physics and medicine.

The Westphalian Wilhelms University is the third largest university in Germany. Over 3,500 students and 200 guest scientists from other countries give the university an international flair. Currently, around 40,000 students are distributed among 120 different subjects in 15 subject areas. More than 250 institutes and seminars carry on basic as well as applied research. At its founding in 1780 the university was comprised of four faculties: theology, philosophy, law and medicine. As a result of the educational reform of the 1970s, the pedagogical college was integrated into the university in 1980. You can find additional information at http://www.uni-muenster.de

Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes. From imaging systems for diagnosis, to therapy equipment for treatment, to patient monitors to hearing instruments and beyond, Siemens innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people across the globe, while improving operational efficiencies and optimizing workflow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors' offices. Employing approximately 33.000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7.6 billion EUR, orders of 8.6 billion EUR and group profit of 1 billion EUR for fiscal 2005. Further information can be found under: http://www.siemens.com/medical

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