New 7T GE MRI scanner will advance cutting-edge neuroscience research
Dec. 11, 2013 College News - A 42-ton 7T magnet arrived at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Center for Imaging Research on Dec. 5. It will be the centerpiece of a new, powerful Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner designated for cutting-edge neuroscience research.
The 7T refers to the tesla strength of the magnet, the core of the GE High-Field, Actively Shielded 7T 90-cm Whole-Body Imaging System scanner, which will produce detailed images of the brain that are expected to be among the best ever obtained.
The magnet was shipped by boat across the Atlantic, by truck from Baltimore and then delivered to the specially built, 3,563-square-foot addition to the MRI research facility, located south of the MACC Fund Research Center and adjacent to the Department of Biophysics. The magnet was installed by lifting the cap off the facility, raising the magnet out of the truck by crane and gently lowering it into the facility. The crane had to be counter-balanced by weights delivered by semi-trucks. See scenes from the installation below.
Installation, setup and equipment checks of the MRI scanner will continue before it will be available for research in mid-spring.
The new 7T scanner will be a shared resource that will enrich ongoing research collaborations among investigators from many departments at MCW, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and stimulate new collaborative studies. Ultimately, this research will move scientific discoveries forward and benefit patient care. The State of Wisconsin provided $10 million in capital bonding to help fund the 7T scanner.
Already, MCW investigators and collaborators have begun applying innovative neuroscience imaging techniques not only to gain knowledge about the normal brain, but also to evaluate and monitor patients with a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. These include brain tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, visual disorders and schizophrenia. The results have led to earlier disease detection and closer monitoring of brain conditions and investigational therapies.
For more than two decades, MCW researchers have been global leaders in the discovery and development of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) for measuring brain function. The Medical College of Wisconsin pioneered fMRI in the early 1990s, along with Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard University and the University of Minnesota. The new scanner will continue this history of discovery at MCW.