Elekta Neuromag to enhance brain research at the University of California San Diego

Atlanta 16 February 2005The internationally ranked neuroscience programme at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) enters into a R&D and clinical development collaboration agreement with Elekta, using advanced magneto-encephalography (MEG) technology for the study of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Within the framework of the ongoing establishment of an international network of Elekta Neuromag research centres, Elekta will deliver this world-leading MEG system to UCSD later this spring.

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Using Elekta Neuromag, neuroscientists at UCSD will now be able to non-invasively register nerve cell activity in the brain in real time, using the MEG's ability to measure the intensity of very weak magnetic fields generated by electrical activity in the brain.

"At the Department of Radiology, we are excited by this new relationship with Elekta and the possibility to bring magneto-encephalography to UCSD", stated Professor William G. Bradley, Jr., MD, PhD, FACR, and Chairman of the Department of Radiology at UCSD. "The combination of Elekta Neuromag, a three layer magnetically shielded room under the supervision of Professor David Cohen of MIT, the clinical programme of Professor Roland R. Lee's group - formerly from VA Medical Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico - and the basic neuroscience/multi-modality programme of Professor Anders Dale's group - formerly from Massachusetts General Hospital - will form the basis for a neuroscience programme that will be hard to rival", Professor Bradley concluded.

Magneto-encephalography (MEG) is an advanced non-invasive functional brain imaging technique. Like electro-encephalography (EEG), MEG provides direct measurement of neuronal activation with millisecond temporal resolution, in contrast to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission tomography (SPECT), which look at events in seconds or minutes. It also differs from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer assisted tomography (CAT), which only look at anatomic structures. MEG also has higher spatial resolution and localization accuracy than EEG, due to MEG's insensitivity to modelling errors in the head tissues' conductivity profile.

"MEG is a powerful tool for studying normal brain function and brain disorders. Clinically, MEG has been used to localize epileptic discharges in patients with epilepsy", explained Roland R. Lee, M.D., Professor of Radiology in Residence. "It also has been applied to localize major functional centres in the brain that control motor, somatosensory, auditory, vision, and language, which is used for pre-surgical planning in neurosurgery."

"The University of California at San Diego is an ideal place for MEG, since UCSD already has several top neuroscience programmes", continued Professor Lee. "Furthermore, the strong MEG programme of our Radiology Department has recently recruited MEG experts covering many related fields including Radiology, Neurophysiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Physics. The acquisition of the state-of-the-art Elekta Neuromag MEG system will greatly enhance our ability to understand human brain function. We will also be better equipped to study a number of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke and brain tumors, as well as psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, dementia and posttraumatic stress disorder."

Non-invasive, real-time brain mapping and monitoring is considered one of the most exciting developments in neuroscience today, and around the world researchers are developing clinical MEG protocols. The list of new applications is steadily growing and includes pre-surgical mapping for neurosurgery as well as MEG-MRI integration to enhance the accuracy of surgical navigation and planning of open surgery and radiation treatments. In the United States, three CPT codes covering MEG reimbursement have been approved for MEG's clinical applications, including epilepsy, spontaneous brain activity, and evoked brain responses.

Elekta is currently focusing on research programmes for non-invasively locating epileptogenic zones and it is believed that MEG technology increasingly will be used to localize functional targets prior to non-invasive radiosurgery as well as conventional neurosurgery.

"At Elekta, we are very pleased to add the Department of Radiology at UCSD to the growing list of Elekta Neuromag research facilities that around the world are in the process of developing the clinical applications for magneto-encephalography. We believe that UCSD will be one of the key centres in this ongoing development", stated Dr Laurent Leksell, President and CEO of Elekta. "MEG is a truly exciting technology and Elekta is fully committed to assist in bringing its possibilities into clinical use, benefiting patients all over the world. The recent additions to the list of Elekta Neuromag users is also a proof of success for Elekta's flexibility in providing this technology based on various research and collaborative agreements", concluded Dr. Leksell.

Elekta is a world-leading supplier of advanced and innovative radiation oncology and neurosurgery solutions and services for precise treatment of cancer and brain disorders. Elekta's solutions are clinically effective, cost efficient and gentle to the patient. More news about Elekta is available in the VMW June 2004 article Elekta unveils new neurosurgery treatment solutions in the brain and body.


Leslie Versweyveld

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