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Robarts to open major respiratory imaging centre


London, ON July 18, 2003 One of the country’s first major research centres dedicated to respiratory imaging will be established this year at Robarts Research Institute. The Merck Frosst Centre for Respiratory Imaging expected to open later this year as part of Robarts’ C$29.5 million building expansion will allow scientists to study the complexities of lung disease as well as new treatments for conditions such as asthma and allergies, using a new 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system.

Already home to one of Canada’s most powerful experimental MRI machines, a 4 Tesla scanner, Robarts says expects to broaden its research capabilities and recruit new scientists to several new and expanded imaging research programs.

"This investment represents an impressive partnership in action and we expect an excellent flow of ideas between scientists at Robarts and Merck Frosst in Canada and Merck Research Laboratories in the US," says Dr Mark Poznansky, president and scientific director at Robarts. "We have every intention of building this initiative into a very substantial program, both in the area of inflammation and respiratory medicine."

Merck Frosst is investing close to $3.9 million in this partnership. This private-public collaboration has requested an additional $10 million in matching funds from provincial and federal agencies, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, both key supporters of cutting-edge medical research in Canada.

"Robarts is one of the few centres in the world with research expertise covering all imaging modalities CT, MRI and 3D ultrasound," says Gregg Szabo, executive director of corporate affairs at Merck Frosst. "This partnership will enable us to gain a greater understanding of respiratory diseases, which will in turn lead to the advancement of new therapies for patients."