Secretary of State for Health and Social Care visits next generation MRI scanner

Secretary of State for Health and
Social Care, Matt Hancock, visited
the University of Aberdeen to see
first-hand the development of the
next generation of MRI scanners.  

Mr Hancock visited the Medical
Physics Department where the first full body scanner was designed and
built in the 1980s

 Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Head of department, Professor David Lurie, gave Mr Hancock an
overview of the development of the next step in MRI technology,
known as Fast Field Cycling MRI.

Current MRI scanners use a large magnet along with pulses of
radiowaves to create detailed pictures of a patient’s anatomy.
Whilst current MRI machines operate on a single strength of
magnetic field, Fast Field Cycling MRI scanners are able to extract
much more information by switching the strength of the magnetic
field during the scanning procedure.  

The technology has been under development for the last ten years.

Secretary of State, Local MPs, Dr Mary Joan McLeod and Professor David Lurie

The Aberdeen team behind FFC-MRI is leading a nine-strong consortium of research groups from six different countries across Europe, in a project called IDentIFY which received a €6.6 million Horizon 2020 research grant from the European Union to develop the imaging technology and bring it closer to widespread use in hospitals.

The first patients were scanned in the new machine in late 2017 and a project is currently under way to test its capabilities in detecting breast cancer.

Mr Hancock was joined by local MPs Andrew Bowie and Colin Clark.

Colin Clark MP commented: “This is a world class development and I am delighted SoS for Health was able to accept my invitation. Aberdeen Institute of Medical Science is the birth place of the MRI and this new Fast Field-Cycling MRI (FFC-MRI) scanner has national importance. MPs are always delighted to showcase the NE to Westminster ministers.”

Professor Lurie added: “It was fantastic to have the opportunity to give Mr Hancock an overview of this important technology which we believe can eventually be used in hospitals to produce more detailed information to help clinicians treat patients more effectively.”