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Direx debuts low-field MR at ECR show

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Urology equipment manufacturer Direx Medical Systems is planning to enter the MR market withMarex, a low-field magnet shown for the first time at this month'sEuropean Congress of Radiology meeting in Vienna. Marex is a 0.1-tesla permanent magnet

Urology equipment manufacturer Direx Medical Systems is planning to enter the MR market withMarex, a low-field magnet shown for the first time at this month'sEuropean Congress of Radiology meeting in Vienna.

Marex is a 0.1-tesla permanent magnet vertical-field systemwhose appearance bears a passing resemblance to Toshiba's 0.064-teslaAccess magnet. Direx is positioning the system as a low-cost scannerfor the private clinic market in Western countries as well asa secondary unit for public-sector hospitals. The system is alsowell suited for markets in developing countries, according toRon Shifron, director of marketing for Direx, which is based inPetah-Tikva, Israel.

Marex is capable of imaging about 85% of the body and employs10-mtesla/meter gradients. It weighs 2.5 tons, sites in 16 squaremeters and requires neither floor reinforcement nor special magneticshielding. Its power consumption is low enough to enable the useof a regular wall outlet. The scanner also features a detachabletable, which enables users to prepare one patient while anotheris being imaged.

Direx believes there is room in the market for a system likeMarex despite the global plunge in MRI sales. High-field systemshave been most affected by the dropping market, according to Shifron.

"We feel that in this niche market there is still roomfor this kind of machine," Shifron said. "The impressionI'm getting from this meeting is that the low-field market iscoming up and about, even within Europe, where they have had aproblem recognizing the low-field scanners due to all the governmentregulations."

Direx plans to sell Marex for about $400,000 to $500,000 andwill market the system directly where possible through its networkof 10 offices worldwide, with agents responsible for other markets.Direx is in the process of applying for regulatory clearancesto sell the system.

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