The areas of interest are the study of haemodynamics in the onset of vascular diseases,medical imaging and computer science for clinical research. The research activities are carried out using engineering methods in clinical research, such as computational simulations, numerical processing of radio-diagnostic images and use of programming languages to develop information systems. The Laboratory is composed of two Units that carry out their activities at the clinical Centrein Ranica, named after Aldo and Cele Daccò.
The Medical Imaging Unit deals with processing of diagnostic images, either at pre-clinical or at clinical level. The main activities include quantification of renal and cystic volume in polycystic kidney disease and validation of MRI techniques for the study of renal structure and function.
The Clinical Research Informatics Unit develops applications for the management of clinical data generated in controlled clinical trials and medical records for the outpatient Clinic of the Daccò Centre. It also manages IT resources and provides Help Desk and video-conference support to the staff of the Centre.
Role of the hemodynamic forces in the development of cardiovascular diseases
This research line focuses on the study of the forces generated by the flow and the pulsation of blood on the arterial wall. Owing to recent advanced technologies in the field of medical imaging and mathematical modelling it is now possible to accurately reproduce the distribution of haemodynamic stresses at patient level. We first reconstruct the three-dimensional shape of the vessel, and then run numerical simulations of blood motion in these patient-specific geometries. Ongoing studies are in three main areas: atherosclerosis at the level of carotid bifurcation, cerebral aneurysmal pathology and complications of the vascular access for haemodialysis.
Imaging and quantification in renal pathophysiology
Today the radio-diagnostic imaging make possible quantitative analyses of the biological structures in vivo. By using quantification on CT or MR images, we help to study new therapies for polycystic renal disease. For this purpose, the Medical Imaging Unit is involved in treatment studies aimed at reducing the volume increase in patients affected by this pathology. Semi-automatic algorithms have been developed for quantification of both total renal and cysts volumes. In addition, new methodologies are currently being studied for non-invasive characterization of the kidney function and quantification of the fibrotic component from MR images without contrast medium. These will allow to identify differences in renal diffusion and perfusion in patients with renal disease as compared to the normal (healthy) condition.
Informatic systems development in support of controlled clinical trial and of clinical activity
Successful Digital Transformation requires IT services to be delivered in a fast, agile and streamlined manner across the entire organization. This can present many challenges, but more importantly allows for huge opportunities to improve efficiencies across our Research Clinic. On the one hand, the Clinical Research Informatics Unit developed the medical record system for managing the clinical activities in the Centre. The main purpose of this huge project is to integrate under a single, centralised system, all clinical data generated in the Day Hospital with data collected in other Laboratories involved in clinical research (biochemical analyses, genetic analyses and biological banks). On the other hand, numerous controlled clinical trials are carried out in the Daccò Centre. These require high quality standards in the process of collection and management of clinical data. The Clinical Research Informatics Unit has developed a showcase site for clinical trials carried out in the Centre (http://clintrials.marionegri.it/). The platform includes a framework for the creation of electronic case report form (e-CRF), a system for conducting clinical monitoring and a tool for subjects’ randomization. At present, all clinical studies of the Daccò Centre are conducted using e-CRF via web.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.