Published July 26, 2013
For the first time, biomedical researchers will have 24/7 access to some of the world’s most powerful scanners at the University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Installation of four new state-of-the-art scanners will soon be complete in the new CTRC Molecular and Translational Imaging Center, Western New York’s first imaging facility devoted exclusively to clinical and preclinical research.
The new equipment will advance research at UB and its partner institutions as well as attract new academic, translational and private-sector research.
Diverse applications are expected to include cardiovascular and neurological research and cost effectiveness studies for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
CTRC Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD, calls the new center “a huge step forward for clinical research in Buffalo.”
“Many leading translational researchers have made imaging a critical aspect of their research,” says the SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research.
“Modern imaging techniques now provide information that previously could only be obtained from biopsies or autopsies.”
By incorporating multiple modalities, the new center “allows researchers to look at the best modality to advance the science, instead of worrying about [using] a specific imaging platform,” notes John Canty, Jr., MD, who directs the imaging center.
Another major advantage is that researchers will no longer have to work around clinical needs to access scanning equipment.
Until now—as in many other facilities around the country—researchers would use clinical scanners during off-hours when they were not needed for patient care, says Canty, Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of medicine and chief of cardiovascular medicine.
“Pressing clinical demands would often end up putting research on the back burner.”
The new equipment will further their research on neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, and the aging process.
Other members of the Buffalo Translational Consortium, including Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, also will benefit.
In addition, the imaging center is expected to accommodate new research projects, drawing from Buffalo and beyond.
“The research of specific MRI biomarkers for disease diagnosis, monitoring and management will be especially important in attracting researchers from outside Western New York,” says BNAC Director Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, who also directs MRI at the new imaging center.
“In addition, industry will be interested in the determination of differential clinical applications of MRI, including studies on its cost effectiveness and utility in predicting or improving patient outcomes,” says Zivadinov, professor of neurology.
The powerful 9.4-tesla Bruker Biospec MR Imager is particularly important for detailed tissue sample imaging, notes Zivadinov.
One of the first in the country with a cryoprobe, the scanner increases resolution by two-to-three times current capabilities.
Purchase of a GE Discovery PET-CT 690 scanner was supported by a National Institutes of Health Shared Instrumentation grant, secured by Canty as principal investigator.
Two pieces of Toshiba equipment—an Aquilon 320-slice CT and a Vantage Titan 3-tesla MRI scanner—will be installed later in 2013 through a research agreement with Toshiba.