Overall objectives

Innovative non-invasive in vivo diagnostic tests to characterise beta cells in the course of diabetes would be an asset on our way to better understand the complex pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the development of diabetes. In order to be able to fully characterise living pancreatic and transplanted beta cells as well as the metabolic state of tissues relevant for the pathophysiology of diabetes, integration of complementary information from different imaging technologies and functional tests is warranted. Currently, a considerable number of imaging tests is available in the field of diabetes. Most have been tested in small animals, some in larger species including non-human primates and some even in clinical trials. Therefore, we are for the first time in a situation that would allow us to integrate complementary information about beta cells and tissue metabolism from in vivo imaging, functional tests and laboratory parameters.

BetaTrain therefore aims to characterise, cross-validate and map already existing imaging technology and biomarkers (in the broadest sense of the word, including laboratory tests, imaging tracers, functional tests etc.) in animal models of diabetes with a clear translational perspective. The results of this process will provide innovative knowledge about the optimal integration of tests for the characterisation of individuals in respect to beta cell mass/function and their metabolic state and serve as a platform for further comparative studies in animal models of diabetes and diabetic patients. In addition, in order to be able to better address the challenges of diabetes imaging, BetaTrain aims at improving image reconstruction for PET/SPECT and MRI and to develop novel reconstruction algorithms to facilitate integration of optical tomography with MRI and PET/SPECT for 3D display and evaluation. Finally, a small number of novel radiotracers/biomarkers will be developed from/for carefully selected highpotential ligand molecules/targets which are available in our consortium.