Woman using an MRI machine

Imaging technology partnership a major advance for biomedical research

26 July 2016

The University of Sydney is preparing to acquire advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology that will be of major benefit to preclinical and translational medicine research capabilities.

The instruments will enhance the University’s biomedical research capability in areas such as oncology, neurology, embryology, regenerative medicine and cardiology. This capability will accelerate the translation of fundamental research into clinical trials.

The University’s core research facility in biomedical imaging, Sydney Imaging, will soon receive the first of two preclinical MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) systems. 

The systems are being purchased from MR Solutions as part of a technology collaboration which includes local distributor AXT Pty Ltd. 

Professor Simon Ringer, Academic Director of Core Research Facilities at the University of Sydney explained, “Excellence in research is increasingly linked to excellence in capability, and that is what our core research facility program is all about.”

“Our goal is to build world-class research facilities supported by a team of academic, technical and business staff who will manage these platforms. Partnerships with the leading vendors, such as MR Solutions, are essential to that plan.”

Recognising the critical importance of imaging science and technology in biomedical research, the University recently established Sydney Imaging to operate as the peak biomedical imaging facility for the institution. The staff and instrumentation are situated at various sites across the campus in a hub-and-spoke model, accessible to all researchers.

This university-industry partnership involves the installation of a large bore 7 Tesla MRI system as well as a smaller bore 3 Tesla MRI system (1 Tesla is 31,000 times the magnetic field intensity of the earth’s field).

The 7 Tesla system is the most powerful commercially available preclinical MRI imaging system on the market.

The 7T MRI system will be located at the University’s Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), which hosts a number of the University’s core research facilities. MR Solutions will support an MRI Scientist based with the facility staff at the CPC.

The Charles Perkins Centre is an ideal location for the instrument as it brings together researchers from various disciplines to work on obesity, cardiovascular and diabetes related research. Globally, the emerging research agenda in this space is linked to insights gained from imaging technology.

The MRI system’s ability to combine anatomical imaging with analyses to create images in real-time will shed light on changes at the cellular level and how that relates to the progression of diseases such as cancer. 

Excellence in research is increasingly linked to excellence in capability, and that is what our core research facility program is all about.
Professor Simon Ringer

The unique nature of the design of these MRI systems enables easier compatibility with other imaging technology.  Because the MRIs are a “dry” magnet design, they require no liquid helium for operation and therefore no expensive liquid helium cooling. This results in lower running costs and a more compact design.

Dr David Taylor, CEO and director of MR Solutions said, “I am delighted to be providing our advanced MRI technology to Sydney Imaging at the University of Sydney.  We are excited not only for the wonderful research that will be conducted using our MRI systems, but also in partnering with Sydney Imaging to advance MRI science.”

MR Solutions recently received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation), the most prestigious business award in the United Kingdom, for their development of the MRI scanners.

Richard Trett, Managing Director at AXT added, “We are particularly pleased to be able to provide the MR Solutions advanced MRI technology to the Australian scientific community and in particular into a core research facility at the University of Sydney.”

Verity Leatherdale

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