By the end of the action, which had run since December 2011, over 180 participants from all over the globe had joined COST AID. Notable industry participation included GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, Mediri, IXICO, and Olea Medical. In addition, one spinout company, Gold Standard Phantoms Limited, was established by Prof Golay as a direct outcome of the Action, with the aim to develop both a perfusion phantom and an online calibration service for use of ASL in clinical trials.
With a focus on networking and training, major highlights of the action were the Working Group meetings and the Training Schools. The two large Training Schools of the action, one with a focus on clinical aspects and one on the technical background, were both fully booked, very well received and excellently rated, and Working Group meetings were held periodically at different destinations across Europe with the final two meetings in Les Diablerets (CH) in March 2015 and in Edinburgh (UK) in October 2015.
The action successfully aimed at capacity building due to networking by putting a particular emphasis on the realisation of no less than 30 Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM), leading to numerous publications and an effective shift of the research power in ASL from North America to Europe in the last few meetings of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. In particular, over 30 papers were published by members of the Action specifically acknowledging its support and generally, over 80 publications were submitted on the topic by members of the Action over the last 4 years. The most important result of the action was the production of an expert opinion paper on ASL in 2014 on: “Recommended implementation of arterial spin-labeled perfusion MRI for clinical applications: A consensus of the ISMRM perfusion study group and the European consortium for ASL in dementia”. The paper, cited already over 100 times, described a set of rules and processing steps to be used by all clinicians to maximize reproducibility among perfusion studies based on a consensus position of the entire community of what are the best sequences and parameters to use when measuring perfusion with ASL in the clinics.
With the end of the COST Action funding, its members will return to the original body from which it stemmed in the first place: the ASL Network (http://asl-network.org).
COST Member Countries & Cooperating States