British team nabs $5.8M to target MR sensitivity, Alzheimer's diagnosis

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The SABRE research project at the University of York, England, has received a £3.6m ($5.8 million USD) Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust to fund a team of seven post-doctoral researchers.

SABRE—Signal Amplification by Reversible Exchange—is a technology that could potentially increase the sensitivity of an average MRI scanner by 200,000 times, allowing for improved diagnosis, treatment and clinical monitoring of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, according to a release from the university.

The most recent grant brings the total support for SABRE from the Wellcome Trust, the Wolfson Foundation, Bruker Biospin, the University of York and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to more than £12.5m ($20 million USD) in the last three years.

A purpose-built facility, the Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance, is being constructed at the University of York to house the project, and is set to officially open in September 2013.

Hyperpolarization involves the transfer of magnetism from parahydrogen to molecules making them more visible in MRI scans. The SABRE program will develop the chemical basis of this method to make it suitable for medical applications.