The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has awarded $2.5 million in research grants to advance the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, a collaboration among Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Philips Healthcare. The research projects are part of $30 million in funding awarded throughout the State of Ohio this week by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.

These latest grants fund two significant imaging research projects that are part of the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, formed in June 2010 to bring together radiologic experts to coordinate clinical research, education, development and commercialization of advanced imaging technologies. The Imaging Center was funded through an initial $5 million from Ohio Third Frontier Commission and a $33.4 million matching commitment from Philips.

“This additional funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission further establishes Northeast Ohio as a worldwide hub for imaging technology,” says Pablo Ros, MD, Chairman of Radiology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center. “The collaboration between Case Western Reserve, UH and Philips has created a pipeline to move innovative technologies more quickly into patient care and these unique research projects are the next step in this important synergy between our organizations.”

Nearly $1 million of the funding is designated for a project to develop a first-of-its-kind system that will provide greatly enhanced resolution of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) technology used to detect breast cancer through CT or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) imaging. Using the new PET/MRI at the UH Seidman Cancer Center, one of four in the world, researchers will explore if this hybrid imaging technology enhances the ability to more accurately detect breast cancer.

The development of a novel cardiac imaging product will receive $1.58 million. The research team will explore the use of cardiac perfusion technology in the ER to provide a detailed assessment of areas of the heart which are not getting enough blood or to determine the amount of muscle damage in a heart attack.

The Third Frontier grants require matching funds. The partners are investing a total of $1 million in each project.

As part of the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, the latest Philips imaging equipment is developed in Cleveland and validated for clinical efficacy and product release. The company’s global Computed Tomography and Nuclear Medicine headquarters is also in Cleveland.

“Our company aspires to assist clinicians by providing breakthrough imaging technologies that today are not yet possible,” said Jay Mazelsky, senior vice president and general manager for Computed Tomography and Nuclear Medicine at Philips Healthcare. “This Advanced Imaging Innovation Center will help us realize these objectives and in the process, help improve the healthcare of patients in Ohio and throughout the world.”

See University Hospitals’ full press release here.