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Cryogen-free 7T simultaneous PET-MR preclinical imaging system at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

MR Solutions has received an order for a high-powered 7T, cryogen-free, preclinical PET-MRI multi-modality imaging system from the newly formed preclinical imaging resource at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (ZNI) at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).

The simultaneous acquisition of PET and MR images marries the exquisite sensitivity of PET with the high spatial resolution and soft tissue contrast of MRI. MR Solutions is the only company in the world to be able to deliver this ground breaking cryogen free technology.

Dr. Russell Jacobs, Professor of Research Physiology and Biophysics at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute commented: “In collaboration with MR Solutions we are seeking to optimize imaging tools and apply them in preclinical model systems in such a manner that they are directly useable in the clinic. We are working in collaboration with a number of researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC on a wide range of applications. Among them are elucidating disease etiology in mouse and rat models of Alzheimer’s disease; imaging assays of in vivo effects of several neuroprotection schemes in stroke; refinement of methodologies to delineate neuronal pathways and how they go wrong in disease and with aging; and the development and testing of novel cancer immunotherapies.”

The Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute is a world leader in the field of neuroscience research, with multi-disciplinary research teams who study the cause and effect of neurodegenerative disease and psychiatric disorders as well as potential therapies. Students and world class researchers study the circuitry and mechanisms of the brain and neurological disorders. This research is undertaken in state of the art laboratories within the ZNI, which is part of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.  Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, who holds the Mary Hayley and Selim Zilkha Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research and who is the Director of the ZNI said “we are excited about having a robust small animal imaging center at the ZNI available to researchers and clinicians throughout the Keck School of Medicine of USC, as it is an ideal way to translate laboratory findings into clinical practice.”

MR Solutions is the only manufacturer to offer both a complete range of cryogen free MRI systems (3T, 4.7T, 7T and 9.4T) and simultaneous or sequential PET and SPECT in combination with their scanners. The cryogen free development has liberated high field scanning; doing away with the need for a separate room; has allowed the stray magnetic field to be reduced to a few centimetres so it can be placed near other sensitive equipment; does not require liquid helium top-up, significantly reducing running costs; and there is no requirement for building modification works and emergency venting systems as it can be wheeled through the door.

For simultaneous PET and MRI imaging, MR Solutions’ PET module is inserted within the bore of the MRI system. The multi-modality imaging scanner combines MRI for the exquisite structural and functional characterisation of tissue with the extreme sensitivity of PET imaging for metabolism and tracking of uniquely labelled cell types or cell receptors. This is particularly useful in oncology, cardiology, and neurology research. Superior imaging resolution results may be the best on the market at <0.7mm.

MR Solutions also offers a sequential PET-MR imaging system by clipping on a PET module to the front of the MRI system. The imaging can then be carried out automatically from one modality to another on the same axis. The clip-on option allows independent use of MRI or PET imaging without the need to move subjects to different machines which may be located in different parts of a laboratory or research centre.

In a further development, MR Solutions can now provide SPECT imaging, based on multi-pinhole technology, for use with high field MRI systems or CT systems to provide PET/SPECT/CT multi-modality imaging. SPECT-MR is available for either sequential or simultaneous imaging.