Philips new research facility targets Alzheimer's and Parkinson's with whole body MRI research system

Cleveland 20 June 2005Philips Medical Systems, a division of Royal Philips Electronics,has opened the ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research centre at its Cleveland facility. The innovative Philips Achieva 7.0T (tesla) research system installed at the centre, responds to 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.

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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", stated 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 Programme and involves the OSU, Case Western Reserve University, the Biomedical Research Technology Transfer Council (BRTTC) 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", stated 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", stated 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 programme, 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 United Kingdom, 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.

Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of $ 37.66 billion in 2004. With activities in the three interlocking domains of health care, lifestyle and technology and 160,900 employees in more than 60 countries, it has a market leadership position in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring among others. More company news is available in the VMW April 2005 article Philips advances cardiology leadership by integrating best-in-class technologies for improved patient care and outcomes.


Leslie Versweyveld

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