Providing cutting-edge preclinical and clinical imaging technologies with technical expertise, a new research and training hub at the University of Sydney – Sydney Imaging – will assist researchers to tackle frontier questions in healthcare and medical research. Imaging technology allows researchers to study complex biological systems and disease processes non-invasively, and gain insights into scientific and medical problems not available by other means.
Sydney Imaging’s flagship Hybrid Theatre at the Charles Perkins Centre combines a range of biomedical imaging technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics and pioneering surgical practice and training. Image-guided and robotic surgery are used to develop and perfect the complex surgical procedures of tomorrow, resulting in less invasive techniques and better outcomes.
The Hybrid Theatre showcases Australia’s first ARTIS pheno C-Arm, one of the most advanced robotic imaging systems currently available. Manufactured by Siemens Healthineers, it delivers high quality fluoroscopic and CT-like 3D images quickly using less radiation – and accommodates any patient regardless of their size, condition or position.
The theatre also features in-room cameras and videoconferencing to record and stream live procedures for research and teaching purposes.
Speaking at the launch of Sydney Imaging, at the Charles Perkins Centre this morning, NSW Secretary of Health Elizabeth Koff said Sydney Imaging was an investment in our future health.
Sydney Imaging is one of Australia’s most sophisticated biomedical imaging facilities reserved for research and education – a rarity in the world. It is a boon for the NSW and Australian health research community, and for our broader society which will ultimately benefit from discoveries made there.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said the facility forms part of the University’s Core Research Facilities program to invest in world-class research infrastructure that attracts the best and brightest.
“Sydney Imaging empowers our finest researchers from across a range of disciplines, and our partners, to find innovative solutions for the world’s most complex health conditions,” he said. “Its Hybrid Theatre, representing the future of technologically-advanced operating theatres, will enable the high-level training and experience our next generation of researchers and healthcare workers will need to carry this work forward.”
Plans to further enhance Sydney Imaging’s capabilities will result in significant research breakthroughs, Academic Director of Core Research Facilities Professor Simon Ringer predicted.
“One of the largest surgical theatres in the country, the Hybrid Theatre includes an adjacent space that will soon house a clinical MRI scanner,” he said. “Researchers will be able to easily combine magnetic resonance imaging with X-ray and ultrasound systems, greatly increasing the range of procedures they can undertake. We are also exploring how surgical robotics might interact this technology, and are working with experts at the University’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics to develop new applications in surgery and medicine.”
Deputy Director of the Hybrid Theatre, Professor Paul Bannon, explained the term ‘hybrid’ represented a new way of performing surgeries – a hybrid of traditional open surgeries and the more minimally invasive procedures the theatre supported.
“The Hybrid Theatre also represents a hybrid between the massive technological and academic strengths of the University, and the drive for innovative and effective treatments from the hospitals we partner with,” he added.
Just imagine what we will be able to achieve by exploiting this site’s capacity to integrate the highest resolution imaging with current robotic capabilities, as well as development and nanoscale robotics.
Based at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and Brain and Mind Centre, close to the Marie Bashir Institute and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney Imaging acts as a hub for the University’s faculties and affiliated research institutes, and is intended to bolster the University’s work with local health partners including Sydney Local Health District.
Patients will be the ultimate beneficiary of the strategic location and collaboration, explained Executive Director of Sydney Health Partners, Professor Garry Jennings.
“This initiative offers a valuable opportunity for the local health community to strengthen connections with existing collaborators and foster new partnerships – in order to advance scientific and medical discoveries and ensure our healthcare system remains fit for future purpose,” he said.
“We are excited to partner with Sydney Imaging to bring this revolutionary hybrid robotic imaging system – that combines images, robotics and surgical techniques with precision – to Australia,” he said. “It opens the door for Australia’s surgical and medical research elite to explore an unprecedented world of capabilities in therapy, interventional radiology and surgery.”
A scientific symposium will follow the official launch of Sydney Imaging, featuring a series of research lectures by local and international leaders from the clinical, preclinical and surgical research imaging communities.