The Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) is the largest institute dedicated to health research in Portugal, focusing on generating impact on improving the quality of life and health conditions of all people.
The i3S aims to address key health topics, like cancer, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases and regenerative medicine, bringing together internationally acknowledged researchers dedicated to basic, clinical and translational research.
Name of the organisation: Institute for Research and Innovation in Health
Business area: Technologies for disease diagnosis and monitoring
Name: Inês Mendes Pinto
Position in the organisation: Head Researcher
INESC TEC centre with which i3S collaborated: Centre of Biomedical Engineering Research (C-BER)
Project name: Care-In-Health
Project manager at INESC TEC: João Paulo Cunha
What is the connection between i3S and INESC TEC?
Over the past years, and with the emergence of digital health, i3S has collaborated with INESC TEC within the scope of several multidisciplinary projects, some of them funded by organisations like Welcome Trust, the Foundation for Science and Technology and, more recently, by the EC (within the scope of Care-In-Health); the main focus is the design, creation and implementation of AI tools for the adequate identification and characterisation of new diagnostic biomarkers, therapeutic targets and the development of disease prediction and prognosis.
How do you rate your experience with INESC TEC?
Regarding the European project Care-In-Health, our collaboration with INESC TEC has been quite positive and strategic towards achieving our goals, namely the transition of i3S sensing technology to a device with a significant potential in terms of clinical and medical personalised diagnosis.
More specifically, what to you value the most in said collaboration?
We value INESC TEC’s know-how, computation tools and digital technologies – which, combined with our biosensing experience, will generate synergies towards the development of advanced analytical tools for different clinical applications and healthcare actions.
Recently, INESC TEC and i3S new European project was approved. What does it consist of?
Yes, i3S and INESC TEC are part of the European consortium that received €7M within the scope of the Pathfinder Open programme; the project focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of cardiovascular diseases.
What are your expectations regarding this new joint endeavour?
The collaboration between i3S and INESC TEC will focus on the multiplex biosensor we’ve developed at i3S. This technology enables the simultaneous pre-processing of samples and the detection of different biomarkers from a small amount of blood. Together with INESC TEC, we’ll improve the automatization level of the biosensor platform, so that non-trained lab professionals can acquire data and the sensor is able to process data and provide it to a health platform available to physicians and healthcare professionals. Our predictions show that this technology will be implemented in several clinical trials, and it will be used to identify the efficiency of diet guidelines in the resolution or reduction of inflammation associated with cardiovascular diseases. This technology will be crucial to the remote diagnosis and monitoring of said diseases, particularly in distant locations with no access to hospitals or laboratories.
What can we expect from i3S in the upcoming years?
We’ll keep optimising this technology in terms of engineering, chemistry, and biology, while expanding its application to other dimensions, like reproductive medicine and neurological disease. In this sense, the experience of our molecular medicine lab will play a vital role to characterise and validate molecular biomarkers that can later be monitored in clinical environments via our technology.