The project AneuX – Modeling Shape as a Biomarker for Instability of Intracranial Aneurysms, a collaborative venture funded by the SystemsX program, started Monday, March 2, 2015. Niels Kuster of the IT'IS Foundation and the BioElectromagnetic Group of the Integrated Systems Laboratory of the ETH-Zurich will be working on this project, led by PD Dr. Philippe Bijlenga of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences of the University of Geneva Hospital, with other Swiss scientists, including Dr. Sven Hirsch of the Institute of Applied Simulation of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Brenda Kwak of the Department of Pathology and Immunology of the University of Geneva, Prof. Brigitte von Rechenberg of the
University of Zurich Vetsuisse Faculty Equine Department, and Prof. Daniel Rüfenacht of the University of Zurich Center for Applied Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine. The aim of the project is to develop tools for the medical community to use to quantify and analyze the 3D shapes of aneurisms and to test the hypothesis that aneurysm 3D shape can be used as a proxy for disease status.
Aneurysm is a disease of blood vessel walls that causes deformation and enlargement of the vascular lumen. Clinical decision-making is currently based on the location and size of the aneurysm and on empirical clinical observations. Changes in the vessel wall result in shape modifications that can be analyzed by modern imaging methodologies for computational modeling. Tools to assess the size and shape of aneurisms promise to help clinicians predict disease progression for improved decision-making. Clinical data will be combined with millimeter and submillimeter scale 3D imaging and immune-histopathology of aneurisms in humans and animals and information on wall shear stress and wall tension as well as in vitro analysis of molecular biomarkers and biochemical networks in vessel wall tissue and blood to identify a predictive signature for aneurysm growth and rupture. The predictive power of the disease model developed will be tested in a clinical trial.
SystemsX.ch, the largest public research initiative in Switzerland, advances basic research in systems biology. The work of the individual research projects supported by SystemsX and of the initiative as a whole is overseen by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).