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Plans unveiled for developing lower-cost, low-field MRI


Calgary, AB October 17, 2003 A joint federal-provincial initiative is expected to make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology more accessible and affordable, as well as develop commercial opportunities for a made-in-Canada MRI.

A joint $1.23 million federal-provincial contribution has been made towards the development of a low field, high performance MRI at the University of Calgary.

The total cost of the project is $1.4 million, with funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada ($750,000); the National Research Council Institute of Biodiagnostics ($350,000); Alberta Innovation and Science ($130,000 through the Alberta Science and Research Authority); and the University of Calgary ($170,000).

The University of Calgary, in collaboration with the National Research Council (NRC) and the Calgary Health Region, has established an Experimental Imaging Centre in the Health Sciences Centre and is becoming a centre of excellence in MRI technology. The opportunity for such collaboration was a main reason NRC established a wing of its Institute of Biodiagnostics (IBD) West at the university.

With the new low-field high-performance MRI project, Western Economic Diversification Canada will have contributed to three projects at the Experimental Imaging Centre. The first two included funding towards a ultra-high field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine and microscope imaging analysis research equipment, as well as the development of a multi-modal multi-user optical/fluorescence imaging system.

“This valuable partnership brings together a critical mass of researchers from NRC-IBD (West) and the University of Calgary to use imaging technologies to ultimately provide better diagnosis and treatment of patients,” says Dr Gil Schultz, from the faculty of medicine at the U of C.

“This new initiative further enhances the presence of NRC/IBD in Alberta as well as provides innovative imaging technology with potential economic spin-offs that can have huge potential impact in translation to health care solutions in the clinical setting,” adds Dr Boguslaw Tomanek, site manager for IBD (West).