The Advanced Imaging Unit (AIU), established in early 2012, is a multidisciplinary group working on the development of new imaging applications and molecular imaging tools that will expand knowledge of the molecular and cellular events underlying cardiovascular disease.
The three core areas of the AIU’s research and service are:
- Cardiovascular imaging.
- Nanomedicine and radiochemistry.
The AIU offers the CNIC and the wider scientific community support and expertise in cardiovascular imaging using five state-of-the-art modalities: MRI, X-ray CT, nuclear imaging (PET), ultrasound (echocardiography) and optical (bi and tri-dimensional luminescence and fluorescence). For its nanomedicine and radiochemistry program, the AIU has a dedicated nanotechnology and organic chemistry laboratory in which we develop new nanoparticles, molecular probes, and biofunctionalization techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of different cardiovascular diseases. Currently the unit produces multifunctional nanoparticles for all imaging techniques available at the CNIC—including iron oxide, liposomes, quantum dots and gold nanoparticles—all of them functionalized with specifc cardiovascular biomarkers. The unit’s radiochemistry laboratory is now fully operative for 68Ga (and since early 2014) 89Zr, providing the Center with specific PET radiotracers for cardiovascular nuclear imaging. The unit also has long experience in the study of disease by metabolic data analysis using magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry and statistical tools developed by the group. In summary our research ranges from technical developments and chemistry advances to in vitro studies and tracking of biological processes in vivo.