First class delivery at UCH 

15/04/2011 00:00 

University College Hospital has taken delivery of an advanced scanner which could herald exciting research breakthroughs and better patient care. In a delicate operation, the five ton machine was hoisted into place by crane.

 First class delivery at UCH

The 3T MRI scanner, which is joint funded by UCLH and a grant award by the National Institute for Health Research Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR/CBRC), will enable scientists and clinicians to work together on translational research projects with direct benefit to patients.

The CBRC grant was awarded to Dr Stuart Taylor (honorary consultant radiologist and reader at UCL) and co-investigators.

The equipment provides detailed, high definition images of tissue – without the patient being exposed to radiation.

Hon consultant radiologist and senior lecturer at UCL Shonit Punwani (lead for the research facility), said: “It is fantastic equipment and it was exciting to see it arrive at UCH. It provides more detailed images in the same amount of time as current equipment, with the potential to lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Patients with a wide range of conditions will benefit including those with stroke, cancer and orthopaedic disorders.

“The facility will be pivotal in developing research projects focusing on scanning techniques which are not routinely available but show promise or have been successful in pre-clinical models. It will be invaluable in helping us bring them quickly into clinical practice to benefit patients.”

The more sensitive the screening process is, the earlier diseases can be identified and treated: tiny changes to the structure and function of tissue precede larger more obvious changes to the anatomy. A number of research studies are planned to investigate further.

Research teams are also developing MRI techniques which could reduce the need for more conventional scans using ionizing radiation in cancer imaging - particularly important for young patients where radiation exposure should be limited.

Clinical teams and their research colleagues will share the facility 50/50. The equipment is now in place on the second floor podium at UCH and will also be available for private patient work and commercial clinical trial research.

Investigators interested in using the research facility are asked to contact shonit.punwani@uclh.nhs.uk

 

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