Australian-first scanner SA at national forefront of imaging technology

12 Aug 2022
Australian-first scanner SA at national forefront of imaging technology

The installation of Australian-first imaging equipment will revolutionise clinical research and patient care at the SAHMRI-based Clinical & Research Imaging Centre (CRIC).

CRIC is a partnership between Dr Jones & Partners Medical Imaging and SAHMRI. The centre delivers open access state-of-the-art imaging services for clinical and research purposes.

The facility will become home to the southern hemisphere’s first photon counting computed tomography (PCCT) machine later this year. This will be the first of two new cutting-edge imaging units that will consolidate the centre’s standing as the most advanced of its kind in the nation.

Dr Andrew Dwyer, a Partner Radiologist with Dr Jones & Partners and the Head of Imaging at SAHMRI, says PCCT is the biggest advance in CT imaging technology in 20 years.

“The NAEOTOM Alpha PCCT scanner from Siemens Healthineers is game-changing for medical research and new models of patient care.” he said.

“Already we know that this technology, for the first time, can visualise inside coronary artery plaques and identify people who are at risk of heart attack. We also know it can probe cancer cells like never before.

“But the most exciting part of this is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what might be possible. Our researchers will thoroughly investigate the potential of PCCT to transform health care”

Dr Mitchell Raeside, the Managing Partner at Dr Jones & Partners, says PCCT’s unmatched resolution promises to help diagnose and guide treatment for leading causes of disease burden in Australia.

“Photon counting CT is the equivalent of going from regular TV to HD and black-and-white to colour all in one step,” he said.

“This revolution in technology will benefit patients through earlier diagnoses and reducing radiation dose by up to 45% when compared to existing scanners.”

The collective $9.8m investment partnership between Dr Jones & Partners, SAHMRI and Siemens Healthineers has been supported by $1m funding from the South Australian Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

The South Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Susan Close, says the investment demonstrates what can be achieved by partnerships between research, health care and industry.

“SAHMRI has been at the forefront of medical research since it opened in 2013 and these new machines will provide an opportunity for global leadership for South Australian researchers and clinicians in advanced imaging science,” the Minister said.

“Technology is progressing rapidly – especially medical technology – and this investment now will pay dividends in the years ahead.

“The Malinauskas Government is pleased to support this research through nearly $1 million in funding as it will enable world-leading imaging in SA over the next five years and beyond.

“Ultimately, this research will lead to better health outcomes for South Australians and potentially save lives.”

SAHMRI Director Professor Steve Wesselingh joined ABC radio to discuss the extraordinary technology that will revolutionise patient care by allowing clinicians to peer deep inside cancer cells and clogged arteries.

Michael Shaw, Managing Director of Siemens Healthineers ANZ, said the first Australian installation of the NAEOTOM Alpha PCCT scanner technology signifies a new era in CT.

“At Siemens Healthineers our technological innovation endeavours are intended to make the lives of people better,” he said.

“The NAEOTOM Alpha PCCT scanner is a reinvention of computed technology. We are proud to see our pioneering technology in the hands of leading Australian researchers and clinicians as it is here that will we see the realisation of life-changing patient care.

“This partnership epitomises our mission of pioneering breakthroughs in healthcare for everyone, everywhere through research, development, innovation and translation. We are thrilled to see the realisation of this Australian first.”

The PCCT machine is the result of almost two decades of development by Siemens Healthineers. At the centre of the technology is the purest cadmium telluride crystal and the ability of the photon-counting detectors to directly transform x-ray photons into electrical signals.

CRIC has developed a strong reputation for translational impact since opening in 2017 and is a node of the NCRIS-funded Australian National Imaging Facility.

Support research like this