Scanner will be the most powerful in Europe
Marconi Medical Systems has delivered a very high field, whole-body MR scanner
to University College of London as part of a five-year research collaboration
agreement. The device will help an advanced neurology team with neurological
research and functional brain imaging.
The 4.7-tesla scanner is now at Marconi's Farnham headquarters, 20 miles
south of London, while a room shielded with 230 tons of iron to protect people
from the scanner's strong magnetic force is being built on the UCL campus.
Marconi will deliver the scanner in December to the Queen's Square location
of UCL's Wellcome High-Field MR Research Lab in central London. The lab
is a major center of neurological research in Britain.
Testing the 4.7-tesla scanner is giving Marconi valuable lessons about its
3-tesla scanner, the Orion, said Dr. Linda Eastwood, program manager for Marconi's
very high field MR business.
The Orion is still in the development stage and has not yet been submitted
to the FDA for 510(k) clearance, but Marconi has plans to place the scanner
in several centers in Europe and the U.S. in the first half of next year, Eastwood
Marconi set itself the goal of making a 3-tesla scanner when it acquired the
VHF whole-body imaging team of Surrey Medical Imaging Systems (SCAN 12/15/99).
That company has since gone into receivership, Eastwood said, so Marconi has
taken over the contract with UCL for the research collaboration.
Most of the lessons Marconi engineers are learning from the 4.7-tesla scanner
concern stability. The higher the field a scanner employs, the more difficult
it is to keep the system stable.
High-field MRI systems of 1.5 tesla or greater are generally assigned to research
rather than clinical use in Europe, while clinical systems are more common in
the U.S., Eastwood said. However, Europe maybe catching up with its American
counterparts in this area.