Penn researchers to get 7 Tesla whole-body MRI system

August 28, 2006

(Philadelphia, PA) - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will soon be armed with a new, cutting-edge technological tool in the field of radiology - a 7 Tesla whole-body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system. Penn's Department of Radiology will become the first in the Greater Philadelphia region to acquire one of these ultra high-field scanners. Only a handful of them are in operation elsewhere in the United States.

Ravinder Reddy, PhD, Professor of Radiology and Science Director of the MMRRCC at Penn, who is also the principal investigator leading the effort in high-field imaging, explains why this is such a powerful addition for research, "Since the inception of MRI for clinical imaging and research over two decades ago, the magnetic field strength of clinical imagers has increased 20-fold from 0.15 Tesla initially to 3T currently, with each increase in field strength yielding new diagnostic capabilities. Initial results from a few laboratories suggest MRI at even higher fields holds great promise to provide insight into structure, function and physiology in humans not obtainable at lower fields. An ultra high-field magnet will further improve sensitivity, speed, and image resolution."

Reddy adds, "This system will also pave the way to image other nuclei in the human body such as sodium (23Na), phosphorus (31P), oxygen (17O) and carbon (13C). Imaging these nuclei may provide disease-specific molecular and functional information unobtainable on conventional MRIs. With further technique development, we can detect disease in a way never seen before."

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), just announced it is awarding Penn a High-End Instrumentation grant of $2 million toward the purchase of the whole-body 7T MRI system. The NCRR grants are used to fund cutting-edge equipment required to advance biomedical research and increase knowledge of the underlying causes of human disease.

This new system at Penn will be utilized primarily by four centers: the Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Research and Computing Center (MMRRCC), the Center for Functional Neuroimaging (CfN), the Center for Molecular Imaging (CEMI), and the Laboratory for Structural NMR Imaging (LSNI). Biomedical imaging research in these four laboratories covers a wide range of applications and innovative methodologies involving functional brain imaging for basic and clinical neuroscience, the study of neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders, molecular imaging for cancer detection and treatment monitoring, novel approaches to cardiovascular disease and tissue perfusion, arthritis and osteoporosis. This ultra high-field magnet facility will also serve as open resource for the entire research community at Penn and other neighboring institutions. Details on how to access this magnet system will be made available once the facility has become operational.

Reddy comments, "The higher the field strength, the better the quality of the image, helping radiologists to improve diagnostic accuracy and detect incipient disease."

The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has already assigned a space for the new 7T system on its campus; it will be housed in the lower level of the Stellar-Chance Laboratories. Reddy will serve as the director of the high-field center. Reddy hopes to order the scanner by the end of 2006, then prepare the site by installing a magnetic shield, and finally installing the magnet by mid-2007. The project will be funded through a combination of internal and external sources including the NCRR grant.

"We're moving technology forward with our expertise and knowledge here at Penn. This new high-field system will be used for research and development and eventually clinical applications," said Nick Bryan, MD, PhD, Chair of Radiology at Penn, "We have a strategic plan for this. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Penn will use this cutting-edge technology. We view this is an investment in our radiological future."

Penn has a rich history of being a pioneering institution in the field of radiology, specifically in MR technology development and translational research for biomedical applications. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was the first hospital in the nation to get and use an MRI back in 1984.
Editor's Notes:

For more information on the Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Penn, go on-line to:

For more information on the Center for Functional Neuroimaging at Penn, go on-line to:

Ravinder Reddy, PhD -- on-line bio:

Photo of Dr. Reddy available upon request.

For more information on the National Center for Research Resources, go on-line to:

PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related Molecular Imaging Articles from Brightsurf:

New technique offers higher resolution molecular imaging and analysis
The new approach from Northwestern Engineering could help researchers understand more complicated biomolecular interactions and characterize cells and diseases at the single-molecule level.

Molecular imaging offers insight into therapy outcomes for neuroendocrine tumor patients
A new proof-of-concept study published in the May issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine has demonstrated that molecular imaging can be used for identifying early response to 177Lu-DOTATATE treatment in neuroendocrine tumor patients.

Non-invasive imaging method spots cancer at the molecular level
Researchers for the first time have combined a powerful microscopy technique with automated image analysis algorithms to distinguish between healthy and metastatic cancerous tissue without relying on invasive biopsies or the use of a contrast dye.

Molecular imaging suggests smokers may have impaired neuroimmune function
Research presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNM MI) shows preliminary evidence that tobacco smokers may have reduced neuroimmune function compared with nonsmokers.

Novel noninvasive molecular imaging for monitoring rheumatoid arthritis
A first-in-human Phase 1/Phase II study demonstrates that intravenous administration of the radiopharmaceutical imaging agent technetium-99m (99mTc) tilmanocept promises to be a safe, well-tolerated, noninvasive means of monitoring rheumatoid arthritis disease activity.

Improving molecular imaging using a deep learning approach
Generating comprehensive molecular images of organs and tumors in living organisms can be performed at ultra-fast speed using a new deep learning approach to image reconstruction developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Nanoplatform developed with three molecular imaging modalities for tumor diagnosis
Nanotechnology and biotechnology are bringing us increasingly closer to personalised cancer treatment.

Study suggests molecular imaging strategy for determining molecular classifications of NSCLC
Recent findings suggest a novel positron emission tomography (PET) imaging approach determining epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation status for improved lung cancer patient management.

New imaging technique able to watch molecular dynamics of neurodegenerative diseases
Researchers have developed a fast and practical molecular-scale imaging technique that could let scientists view never-before-seen dynamics of biological processes involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Combined optical and molecular imaging could guide breast-conserving surgery
Breast-conserving surgery is the primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer, but more accurate techniques are needed to assess resection margins during surgery to avoid the need for follow-up surgeries.

Read More: Molecular Imaging News and Molecular Imaging Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to