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Portable, accessible and sustainable magnetic resonance

Project description

Designing low-cost low-field MRI systems for specific clinical applications

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides high-definition diagnostic imaging. However, it is very expensive and requires skilled maintenance and highly trained technicians. The EU-funded PASMAR project aims to provide MRI systems that will enable medical screening as part of an affordable, sustainable and accessible platform for the developing world. The objective is to design new types of low-cost low-field systems for specific clinical applications and overcome the main challenge of much lower MRI signals. These specialised systems can be used for adult/paediatric brain, orthopaedics and lung/spine scanning, taking advantage of the flexibility of permanent magnet arrays with new geometries, targeted for specific organs, and using open-source design to allow local maintenance and repair.

Objective

MRI is a key modality in clinical care, with well over 150 million scans performed annually for diagnosis and treatment monitoring. Its major strengths are multi-contrast and the lack of ionizing radiation. However, its Achilles-heel is cost: typically millions of euros to purchase, site, and maintain, and also requires highly skilled technicians. As a result, MRI is available only in larger hospitals in the developed world, and unlike other imaging modalities plays little role in population screening. In the developing world, MRI systems are far too expensive and complex to purchase and maintain, and over 70% of the world’s population has zero access to MRI, which could be critical in treating diseases such as hydrocephalus, stroke, head trauma and viral infections. The aims of PASMAR are to develop new low-field MRI systems which will enable a role in medical screening in the developed world, as well as providing an affordable, sustainable and accessible platform for the developing world. The major thrust of PASMAR is methodological, designing new types of low-cost low-field systems for specific clinical applications, and optimizing all aspects of system performance to overcome the challenge of much lower MRI signal. I aim to develop, in consultation with clinical colleagues locally and via ongoing collaborations with engineers and clinicians in Africa, specialized systems which can be used for adult/pediatric brain, orthopedics and lung/spine scanning, as well as new types of inexpensive handheld ultra-lightweight surface scanners. These take advantage of the enormous flexibility of designing permanent magnet arrays with completely new geometries, targeted for specific organs. I will focus on portability to maximize patient reach and minimize siting requirements, accessibility via dramatically reduced system costs, and sustainability via modular and open source design to allow local maintenance and repair.

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Coordinator

ACADEMISCH ZIEKENHUIS LEIDEN
Net EU contribution
€ 2 493 715,00
Address
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Netherlands

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Region
West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie Leiden en Bollenstreek
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)