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Qld Premier and local researchers excited about new world leading medical equipment

12 May, 2006

The new equipment that will be used at the Mater Complex in Brisbane includes Australia’s first Dual Gradient, 16 channel, 3.0T MRI and 64-slice CT scanner.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Health Minister Stephen Robertson, Mater Health Services (MHS) CEO Dr John O’Donnell and Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI) Director, Professor Derek Hart have all praised the latest additions to the Mater, the most clinically advanced Philips 3.0T MRI Machine and Brilliance 64 Slice CT Scanner available.

The launch follows a $10 million grant to the MMRI from the Smart State Research Facilities Fund (SSRFF), and will be used across the adult, mothers and children’s hospitals; as well as research areas of the complex. This grant also covers the funding of a Philips PET CT Scanner, which will go on line at the end of 2006.

In collaboration with MHS, MMRI’s successful submission to the SSRFF has enabled a Clinical Trials Centre to be established, which facilitates the translation of research discoveries from the laboratory to the clinical setting for the benefit of patients.

"Both pieces of equipment are at the forefront of medical technology and will help improve patient access to these specialised radiology services," O’Donnell said.

Hart agrees and says that this advanced equipment places the clinical trial activity at the forefront of the Institute’s scientific program.

"The MMRI’s Clinical Trials Centre now comprises a unique configuration of the world’s most advanced medical imaging equipment, which comes at an opportune time with the commencement of our first clinical trial earlier this year," said Hart.

The MMRI recently launched a phase I clinical trial in prostate cancer using a novel therapeutic vaccination process and hopes to expand their program to include multiple myeloma and breast cancer in the near future.

"The partnership between Philips and the MMRI Today symbolises exactly what is possible when a global leader in Healthcare solutions successfully teams up with an esteemed medical research institution to implement state of the art medical solutions," Philips Electronics Australia CEO, Harry van Dyk, said.

The newly installed equipment includes Australia’s very first and only Philips Achiever Quasar Dual Gradient, 16 channel, 3T MRI. The Mater complex is also the only public facility in Queensland with a 3.0T MRI.

This machine is the most clinically advanced MRI machine available in Australia, with technology including FreeWave, a digital broadband data acquisition system that scales 32 channels and promotes scanning consistency through automating the process.

The SmartExam technology built into the machine will increase operator efficiency by 30% and enable reproducible images with any patient position, any operator, or any day. Important for patient comfort, it boasts SofTone technology which reduces 85% of patient-perceived noise.

Also provided was the Philips Brilliance 64 Slice CT scanner, which conducts the most advanced multi-slice CT studies possible. The system allows radiologists to scan a larger area of patients’ bodies in greater details and less time, while maximising comfort for the patient.

The CT’s superior technology provides 40mm of coverage of 64 simultaneous slices, compared to current technology’s offer of 32 slices. It also features the world’s fastest reconstruction system by delivering real-time pictures at up to 20 images per second.

"This CT technology is so advanced that new discoveries in routine studies and breakthroughs in clinical applications are expected. We have already done some amazing work on it." O’Donnell said.

Both machines have also been specifically designed to address the needs of both patients and care givers. They use soothing colours, a larger than normal opening on the CT and shorter magnet on the MRI to minimise the common feeling of claustrophobia experienced by patients whist undergoing scans, with unprecedented speed and accuracy allows for quicker diagnosis.

The latest equipment installation will compliment existing Philips equipment already in use at the hospital, including Ultrasound and X-ray equipment used in the Radiology departments of the Mater Adult, Mothers and Children’s Hospitals.

"We believe in improving the quality of people’s lives with innovative healthcare solutions that continuously enhance customer satisfaction and consumer well-being. We have found a local partner, in the Mater complex, who share in this vision. As such, we are excited about the work that could result from this local research with the Mater Medical Research Institute in Queensland." van Dyk said.