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Date: 10 October 2000
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The University of Aberdeen has received a valuable new asset in the fight against breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the UK.

A new magnet weighing 4 metric tonnes for the MRI scanner at the MRI Research Centre will be brought in by crane on Wednesday, 11th October at 12:30 pm.  The magnet will be coming from the USA and will be installed by IGE Medical Systems, a subsidiary of the American company General Electric

The magnet will be lifted into the building through a large hole in the wall, which will be filled in after the installation of the magnet.  The magnet is not only the largest but also the most crucial part of the MRI scanner.

The dedicated research MRI scanner will compliment the superb existing research imaging facilities at the University, including the PET Centre.

Professor Fiona Gilbert said: “This dedicated cardiac and neural MRI magnet is the best quality machine available for cardiac and brain research.  Because of its high specification, it is also excellent for cancer research.”

The MRI Scanner will be used for research in major areas of health concern – cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The University of Aberdeen is one of the centres in the UK conducting research in women with a family history of breast cancer.  The new MRI scanner will be used to determine whether MRI is a valuable tool in screening for breast cancer. It will also be used to conduct research to see how breast cancers respond to chemotherapy and to track blood flow within tumours.

Other uses for the scanner include applications for research into heart disease.  Cardiac software will be used with the new scanner to image blood flow through the heart muscle that will help identify those patients most suited to heart bypass operations.  The Aberdeen team has substantial expertise with heart imaging.  The cardiac work will be led by Dr Tom Redpath in conjunction with NHS consultant cardiologists.

The scanner is also capable of measuring brain volumes, which is thought to be useful in predicting dementia. It has excellent sensitivity for detecting strokes at a very early stage which may result in improved management of patients. The neuroimaging research is being led by Dr Alison Murray.


Further information:

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email