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Dutch consortium sets sights on 14-Tesla MR scanner

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 01, 2023
A Dutch Consortium is planning to build the world's first 14 Tesla MR scanner. (Photo courtesy of Radbound University)
A seven-member Dutch consortium plans to build the world’s first MR scanner with a magnetic field strength of 14-Tesla, using a $20 million (€19 million) grant from NWO (the Dutch Research Counsel) to fund its development.

The scientists, led by the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, hope the high sensitivity of the scanner will allow users to image the brain in more detail and better understand its functions. It may also provide new insights on disease stages, metabolism and processes, as well as treatment throughout the body on heterogeneous tissues such as tumors.

“With the 14T MR-scanner, we will be able to see in great detail, without needing surgery, what happens to the brain when it becomes ill, even at an early stage,” said Anja van der Kolk, a neuroradiologist and clinician-scientist at Radboud University Medical Centre, in a statement. "With this information we hope to find new options for treatment, or even prevention, of these disorders."
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Additionally, the scientists expect the system to provide more insights into the mapping of neural circuits that can be used to test and refine existing models of neural computation to make them more realistic.

“The number of people with brain disorders is large and will only increase in the upcoming years. For many of these disorders no effective treatment is currently available, because we do not know how they develop,” said van der Kolk.

Typical medical MR scanners generate 1.5- or 3.0-Tesla, though advanced systems that generate up to 7-Tesla have also been cleared for use. In January, ASG Superconductors (ASG) and Siemens Healthineers announced plans to develop a 10.5-Tesla system of "unprecedented dependability" to be installed at a university in China.

The 14-Tesla project is called DYNAMIC (Dutch National 14Tesla MRI Initiative in Medical Science) and the consortium is made up of Radboud University, Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), Maastricht University, Radboud University Medical Centre, Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging – KNAW and University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU).

The scanner will be set up on the Nijmegen campus but will be available for use to the entire Dutch scientific community and for collaboration with international partners.

The grant provides funding for the country’s “National Roadmap Large-Scale Research Infrastructure,” which enables construction or renewal of essential research infrastructure in the Netherlands. The grant is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science every two years.

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