Diagnostic imaging  

New Philips MRI research centre targets Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

6 July 2005

Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Philips Medical Systems has opened a new ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research centre at its Cleveland facility. The Philips Achieva 7.0T (tesla) research system installed at the centre is aimed at studying researchers' needs for ongoing improvements in MRI capabilities, particularly for the study of degenerative neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. The centre will host the first and only whole body 7.0T MRI system installed in a corporate environment. The company is also working with other research centres in the USA, UK and Switzerland to carry out similar research.

The history of MRI has been marked by a push toward ever-higher fields in order to obtain greater sensitivity and greater imaging resolution, enabling more detailed visualization of structures in the human body. Currently, the mainstream clinical standard for cylindrical MRI scanners is 1.5T — a tesla is a measure of magnetic field strength, which influences resolution and image quality — with 3.0T systems gaining market share in the higher performance range. The new research facility will host the world's most advanced MRI research scanner, the Philips Achieva 7.0T.

"The advanced capability of the 7.0T research system has exciting implications for some of medicine's most difficult challenges," said Dr Michael V. Knopp, Chairman of the Department of Radiology at The Ohio State University and Principle Investigator. "Although we are still in the early stages of research, it is clear that the 7.0T capability suggests that the system will be particularly strong in many areas of oncology and at imaging degenerative neurological diseases — Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis — as well as other neurological conditions such as epilepsy, since it is clear that the 7.0T produces improved imaging of blood flow and oxygen use in the brain."

Development of Philips 7.0T MR programme is strengthened by collaboration with some of the world's leading medical research centres, including The Ohio State University (OSU). OSU's 7.0T installation is part of the State of Ohio's Third Frontier Program and involves The OSU, Case Western Reserve University, the BRTTC (Biomedical Research Technology Transfer Council) through Ohio's Wright Center project. The Wright Capital Fund is a $1.6 billion plan to create high-paying jobs for Ohioans.

"It is great news for Ohio that these innovative and world-leading research centres are being opened here," said Ohio Governor Bob Taft. "The fact that Ohio will be at the forefront of research into the capabilities of ultra-high field MRI is an important achievement, and helps to build its position as a home of innovation."

"This facility and Philips Achieva 7.0T will give researchers access to new MR applications with an investigative power previously unattainable, allowing improved understanding of neurological diseases," said Gerry Ranasinghe, general manager, MR, at Philips Cleveland site. "Additionally, all of Philips MR systems will benefit as we enhance our MR knowledge and leadership through the 7.0T system, leading to a trickle down effect that directly benefits the rest of our MR program, including our Achieva 3.0T and 1.5T systems."

Philips is working with some of the world's leading medical research centres and has received commitments from major research centres worldwide for the installation of the Achieva 7.0T, including OSU and Vanderbilt University in the USA, the University of Nottingham in the UK, and The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). The research facility in Cleveland will also be available for potential Achieva 7.0T customers to help develop funding proposals for their own 7.0T facility.

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