Philips extends global leadership in ultra high-field MR with 7.0T whole body scanner research contracts

Eindhoven 09 May 2006Royal Philips Electronics has been awarded two contracts to supply Philips Achieva 7.0T (Tesla) magnetic resonance (MR) whole body research systems to Leiden University Medical Center and University Medical Center Utrecht. These new systems, the first 7.0T MR systems in The Netherlands, will support the establishment of a national Virtual Institute for Seven Tesla Applications (VISTA), a partnership with Dutch universities for the exploration of the clinical benefits of ultra high field MR.

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The Philips Achieva 7.0T - Tesla is the measure of magnetic field strength, which influences resolution and image quality - is capable of producing an excellent level of imaging detail allowing clinical researchers to improve their understanding of physiology and cognitive processes of the brain and of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis, with excellent accuracy. Researchers at participating Dutch universities and Philips Medical Systems will collaborate with VISTA to develop ideas and share information through annual workshops, forums, panels and Internet communications that will further advance applications of this new medical technology.

"The advanced capability of the Philips Achieva 7.0Tesla MR research system will enable us to increase our knowledge and understanding of some of medicine's most challenging areas", stated Peter Luyten, senior MR researcher at the University Medical Center Utrecht. "Although ultra high-field MR research is still in its early stages, it is already clear that it could help provide significant insights into the diagnosis, intervention and treatment of degenerative neurological diseases. And ultimately many new applications outside the brain will become possible by means of this new technology platform as well."

"Our intention is that VISTA will become a global centre of excellence for ultra high-field MR research, capitalizing on expertise from within The Netherlands as well as attracting researchers from across the world that will lead to innovations that will have direct clinical benefits", continued Peter Luyten.

"Dedicated research institutes like VISTA will give researchers access to MR technology that has previously been unattainable and will help build on the promising results that this technology has already shown", stated Dr. Jacques Coumans, PhD, vice president global marketing, MR, for Philips Medical Systems. "Improvements in our knowledge of 7.0T MR technology will also have benefits for all of Philips MR systems, including our Achieva 3.0Tesla and 1.5Tesla clinical MR systems, through the trickle-down effect of ultra high-field gradient and RF innovations and by helping improve results and discover new applications for these lower Tesla systems."

Philips is currently the only company to have a fully operational 7.0T MR whole body research system for clinical research in a corporate environment at its facility in Cleveland. It is also working in partnerships with some of the world's leading medical research centres on the development of the Philips 7.0T MR programme including Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University in the USA, the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich. This programme is focused on pushing the development of 7.0T innovations, in partnership with researchers and clinicians, and migrating these advances to routine clinical applications.

The commonly used field strength of clinical MR is 1.5T with higher-performance 3.0T systems becoming increasingly popular. Philips leadership in 3.0T high-field MR system is strengthened by developing fully operational 7.0T systems which will enhance MR knowledge and directly benefit and advance ultra high-field MR applications currently in clinical use.

Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of 30,4 billion euro in 2005. With activities in the three interlocking domains of health care, lifestyle and technology and 161.500 employees in more than 60 countries, it has market leadership positions in medical diagnostic imaging and patient monitoring amongst other areas. More company news is available in the VMW February 2006 article Philips to acquire personal emergency response company Lifeline Systems.


Leslie Versweyveld

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