Our research group has been working hard for over more than 10 years to explore how to make this technology work, and I am glad to say that we’ve had much success in the past few years. So much so, that we are now starting to build a new scanner in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with a start date planned around the end of 2022, and I hope to make regular updates here about its completion.
Field-Cycling Imaging (FCI, to make this short) uses a variable magnetic field to measure how quickly organs get magnetised. Much like a dry sponge absorbing water, your organs absorb some magnetic energy when placed close to magnets and this takes a bit of time. As a matter of fact, you are already magnetised as you read these lines because you are surrounded by the magnetic field naturally produced by the Earth - although this only has a tiny effect on you.
There is a lot to say on that topic, but the key aspect for FCI is that the time a magnet takes to magnetise an organ has deep relationships with the way molecules move inside it. Hence FCI allows us to track differences in the motion of water, proteins and various other things in someone’s body without even having to touch anything. Since the motion of water may exhibit dramatic changes with disease progression, FCI can be used to detect and monitor a potentially wide variety of diseases.
Our research is now focusing on finding which patients can benefit from FCI, and having a scanner inside the hospital is just what we need. We’ve had some great support to reach this point, including from the Hall Family Trust and the Sir Jules Thorn Trust, but this is just the beginning of a long story.
You can find out more information about our team here, and keep an eye on the blog for any future announcements.