World-leading 3T clinical MRI goes online in Adelaide

20 Jul 2023
World-leading 3T clinical MRI goes online in Adelaide

One of the world’s first MAGNETOM Cima.X magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners is operational in Adelaide.

The system will provide a window into the microstructure of the human body in a way not previously possible in a clinical system, while significantly reducing the time required to capture the images through deep learning.

The machine, developed by Siemens Healthineers, is the latest evolution in high-end 3-Tesla (3T) MRI technology. It is located within the SAHMRI-based Jones Radiology Clinical Research Imaging Centre (CRIC) and is part of Australia’s advanced imaging network – the National Imaging Facility (NIF).

CRIC Director Dr Andrew Dwyer says the Cima.X has the potential to revolutionise MRI for both clinical and research purposes.

“The clinical benefits of this technology will be initially realised for degenerative brain diseases, traumatic brain injury, and supporting precision treatment of brain tumours,” Dr Dwyer said.

“It’s on the research front though where we have the greatest potential for breakthroughs. Combining the gradient performance of the Cima.X, frontiers in machine learning and the skills of the team at CRIC will enable our researchers to investigate the body and its processes with a clarity they couldn’t have dreamed about previously.”

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

The arrival of the Cima.X, soon after installation of Australia’s first photon counting CT scanner at CRIC, further establishes Jones Radiology at the forefront of imaging expertise in Australia.

Jones Radiology CEO Professor Susan O’Neill says there has been significant demand already for the new MRI.

“It’s only natural that people get worried or anxious when they’re facing health issues and not knowing what diagnosis they are facing,” she said.

“It gives a measure of comfort for them to know that their medical team has the absolute best equipment at their disposal to diagnose their condition and track their treatment progress.”

Michael Shaw, the Managing Director at Siemens Healthineers, says the Cima.X is the strongest whole-body, clinically approved 3T MRI ever manufactured.

“The magnet is more than twice as powerful as anything used in a clinical setting previously thanks to the novel Gemini Gradients,” Mr Shaw said.

“This will ultimately provide clinicians and researchers alike with deeper insights into the human body. In addition, the Cima.X leverages our next generation of deep learning image reconstruction technology for faster image acquisition and signal rich super resolution images. Our Open Reconstruction Research Platform is designed to connect research partners and promote seamless national and international research collaborations.”

That ability to promote collaborations was a major factor in NIF contributing a $1m investment to acquire the Cima.X.

NIF CEO Professor Wojtek Goscinski says the cutting-edge MRI technology has been a key priority of the Australian Government’s National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.

“Australia is a world leader in applying and translating MRI technology,” Prof Goscinski said.

“The unique capabilities of the Cima.X within SAHMRI’s world-class clinical context will be a valuable component of NIF’s national network, underpinning Australia’s ability to translate research, provide better clinical decision making and better health,”

“The Cima.X is designed to study the connections in the human brain, which is critical to understanding challenging neurological disorders such as stroke and acute brain injury. It will be an important tool for investigator and industry-led clinical trials into the development of new medical products to treat these conditions.”

South Australia’s State Government also played a crucial role in bringing this technology to the state, facilitating the multi-lateral partnership with a $1m investment.

SA’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Susan Close, says the investment will be rewarded in several ways.

“The clinical benefits are obvious and the contribution this makes to medical research will soon be apparent,” she said.

“Being one of just a handful of locations on earth with a Cima.X also further establishes South Australia’s bona fides as a global centre of innovation – a reputation that is increasingly attracting the best and brightest from diverse industries who want to live and work here.”

The NIF network provides open access to imaging equipment, expertise, tools, data and analysis to address Australia’s strategic science and research priorities. It also plays a key role for industry by helping companies to initiate, develop, validate and test new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical digital products and animal health technologies.

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