Penn to adopt 7T MRI system
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will soon put to use a 7 Tesla whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. The facility’s Department of Radiology will become the first in the Philadelphia area with a 7T unit.
The system will be used for research led by Ravinder Reddy, PhD, professor of radiology and science director at Penn, and principal investigator leading the effort in high-field imaging.
"Since the inception of MRI for clinical imaging and research over two decades ago, the magnetic field strength of clinical imagers has increased 20-fold from 0.15 Tesla initially to 3T currently, with each increase in field strength yielding new diagnostic capabilities,” said Reddy. “Initial results from a few laboratories suggest MRI at even higher fields holds great promise to provide insight into structure, function and physiology in humans not obtainable at lower fields. An ultra high-field magnet will further improve sensitivity, speed, and image resolution."
"This system will also pave the way to image other nuclei in the human body such as sodium (23Na), phosphorus (31P), oxygen (17O) and carbon (13C).  Imaging these nuclei may provide disease-specific molecular and functional information unobtainable on conventional MRIs. With further technique development, we can detect disease in a way never seen before," Reddy added.
Penn was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) toward the purchase of the whole-body 7T MRI system.
This new system at Penn will be utilized primarily by four centers: the Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Research and Computing Center (MMRRCC), the Center for Functional Neuroimaging (CfN), the Center for Molecular Imaging (CEMI), and the Laboratory for Structural NMR Imaging (LSNI).
"This new high-field system will be used for research and development and eventually clinical applications," said Nick Bryan, MD, PhD, chair of radiology at Penn.
The project will be funded through a combination of internal and external sources including the NCRR grant.