Ultra-High Field Magnetic Resonance Lab

Magnetic resonance scanner with magnetic field inductance of 7.0 T, model: GE DISCOVERY 950 MR

- gantry diameter 60 cm capacity to perform a full body scan in humans

- 50 mT/m peak amplitude

- 200 T/m/s maximum slew rate

- 32-channel RF Receive (Nova)

- 8-channel RF Transmit

- ability to perform spectrometric analyses of the following elements:  H-1, F-19, P-31, Na-23, and C-13

The currently available two and eight channel RF receiver coils allow the performance of head (brain) scans.

Hyperpolariser - SPINlab Diamond Polariser by GE

Administration of a "magnetic contrast medium" (C13) increases the resonance signal strength by 10,000 to 100,000 times.

Only around forty ultra-high field MRI scanners are currently in operation worldwide, half of which are in the USA. Certainly not a standard diagnostic instrument typically used by healthcare institutions, the device is a technically advanced instrument employed for the purposes of scientific research involving brain scans and imaging of various other anatomical areas of the human body (gantry diameter - 60 cm) The ultra-high magnetic field of 7 T is 140,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field. The magnetic field of such strength allows the device to generate images in greatly enhanced resolution when compared to standard devices normally used at healthcare institutions (1.5 T or 3 T). The MRI 7T device facilitates the performance of non-standard procedures involving brain function imaging in specific areas of the brain, e.g. with respect to brain function disorders caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

The scanner is also fitted with a device for hyperpolarisation of substances serving as metabolic markers. The hyperpolarisation technology is a brand new, still commercially unavailable method of medical imaging with a very high potential for future applications. It facilitates a considerable enhancement of the magnetic resonance signal strength, which results in higher resolution of the images. Consequently, it allows the detection of considerably smaller lesions and their more accurate localisation.

To date, the combination of a hyperpolariser and and ultra-high field MRI scanner has only been available in two locations in the USA: at the Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging at the University of California in San Francisco, and at Stanford University. Therefore, Lublin is currently one of only three facilities in the world offering the possibility of taking advantage of the hyperpolarisation technique for the purposes of ultra-high field imaging of human organs.

Given the unique character of the equipment and the highly advanced technology involved in the process of obtaining anatomical images, an interdisciplinary team of experts has been established with the view of conducting research using the MRI 7T scanner and continuing the development of ultra-high field imaging techniques. The team is composed of radiologists, neurosurgeons, physicists, IT specialists, and electrical engineers from Lublin as well as other research centres in Poland. A Programme Committee has also been formed at the MRI 7T laboratory to provide advisory support and define the directions of future research. It is composed of distinguished experts from the Lublin research centre, Warsaw, Kraków as well as Canada and the USA. Furthermore, "Club 7T" is also active in bringing together young scientists interested in MRI technologies.

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