New Magnetic Resonance Machine to be Clinically Implemented

For the first time, a new ultra-powerful magnetic resonance machine will become operational in a hospital setting. The machine, known as the magnetic resonance tomograph, has only been used in scientific research settings, until its recent to the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany.

Standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, which are used as diagnostic tools that enable doctors to look at muscle and tissue structures within one’s body, operate on 1.5 and 3 Tesla magnetic fields. While MRI machines are an effective tool, the images are sometimes not sharp enough to make a reliable diagnosis. In contrast, the new magnetic resonance tomograph operates on a 7 Tesla magnetic field, which should provide substantially sharper images.

This impressive and novel machine weighs 35 tonnes, and cost over 10 million dollars to build. Among other things, advanced research and diagnoses of cardiovascular disease are expected to be performed using the machine. “For the first time in the world, cardiovascular research carried out on such a device is now also to play an important role,” claims the MDC press release.

The release further specifies the goals, stating that “the aim is to detect the risk or commencement of an illness at a very early stage in heart, brain and cancer research. Above all, heart research by magnetic resonance tomography is viewed as very difficult. As such, a demanding task will be waiting for PTB scientists.” The magnetic resonance tomograph will become fully operational at the MDC in January 2009.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Itterman, Bernd. MDC press release. September 2008.