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Philips nurtures interventional MR with University of Aachen deal


Researchers to use high-field NT scannerPhilips Medical Systems is taking a different approach to interventionalMR. Rather than introduce an open-style scanner like its competition,the Dutch vendor is planning to investigate interventional

Researchers to use high-field NT scanner

Philips Medical Systems is taking a different approach to interventionalMR. Rather than introduce an open-style scanner like its competition,the Dutch vendor is planning to investigate interventional techniqueswith its Gyroscan NT line of magnets.

Philips was one of the few MR vendors that did not highlightan open-gantry magnet at last year's Radiological Society of NorthAmerica meeting. But the absence of a Philips open scanner doesnot mean that the company is uninterested in the concept, accordingto Hein Diebels, international support manager for MR.

Rather, Philips intends to investigate IV-MR with its existingGyroscan NT systems, which feature compact magnet designs andflared bores that improve physician access to patients.

The company earlier this year reached an agreement with theUniversity of Aachen in Germany to begin a research program ininterventional MR techniques. The agreement was announced at theEuropean Congress of Radiology meeting in March. The university'smagnet is scheduled to be delivered this summer.

Led by Dr. R. Gunther, the University of Aachen team will usean interventional MR suite developed by Philips. The suite consistsof a 1.5-tesla Gyroscan NT scanner and a Philips BV 212 C-arm.The suite includes an extended table that allows researchers toslide patients from under the C-arm into the magnet without liftingthem off the table. The configuration is useful for proceduressuch as placing a catheter under x-ray fluoroscopy guidance andthen using MR to track contrast flow, according to Diebels.

The University of Aachen team will use high-speed MR sequenceslike echo-planar imaging or gradient and spin echo (GRASE) toacquire, reconstruct and display imagesnn at a rate of about 10frames per second, Diebels said.

Philips hopes the Aachen group's work will lead to the developmentof practical applications for IV-MR. For example, the techniquecould prove useful in following a contrast medium as it perfusessoft tissue.

The vendor acknowledges that while its NT scanners are moreopen than conventional systems, they do not provide the same patientaccess as the open systems developed by Siemens and other vendors.Philips hopes to make up for this drawback by emphasizing thepotential of high-field interventional imaging.

"When you talk about interventional MR, you are talkingabout sticking things like catheters and biopsy needles into patients,"Diebels said. "You want to know where they are going andyou want to know now, not five minutes later. Real-time imagingmeans high field."

Philips has not ruled out the introduction of a dedicated IV-MRscanner. The vendor plans to see how IV-MR plays out before itdoes so, according to Hans Barella, senior executive vice president.

"Our existing concept is a wide-design (NT magnet),"Barella said. "We are always studying to see what we willdo in the future, but today we feel we are absolutely well positionedto do everything that is necessary with interventional work."

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