7 December 2001

A $2.5 million medical imaging instrument, officially launched at the Royal Brisbane Hospital today, will boost efforts to diagnose and treat heart conditions, strokes and Parkinson’s Disease, as well as Alzheimer’s, vascular and musculoskeletal diseases.

The state-of-the-art Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine is an effective, reliable, safe and non-invasive method of “seeing” human organs. The equipment installed at Royal Brisbane Hospital (Siemens 1.5 Tesla cardiac optimised MRI instrument) is specifically designed for cardiac and neurological applications.

Launched by the Queensland Health Minister Wendy Edmond, the machine is part of a $10 million project between The University of Queensland, Queensland Health and The Wesley Hospital.

This project builds on the world-class research and MRI technical expertise established at The University of Queensland over the past decade, and involves an identical instrument installed at The Wesley Hospital and a 4T MRI system also to be installed at the Wesley Hospital during 2002

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay said this project would help to establish Brisbane as a major world centre for this type of medical technology.

“The University of Queensland is responsible for technologies incorporated in 70 percent of recently installed MRI systems produced in the $3 billion a year international market,” Professor Hay said.

“With support from the medical engineering company Siemens, the University is looking to develop further its collaborative research links throughout South East Asia.”

Director of UQ’s Centre for Magnetic Resonance Professor David Doddrell said the Centre’s patented probes and gradients are now used throughout the world, and provide employment for Queenslanders.

“The Centre’s patents generate a royalty stream of approximately $2 million a year and products developed from this research program generate further income of about $1.5 million per annum,” Professor Doddrell said.

“The University is excited about this initiative to establish an internationally recognised centre for MRI research by joining with the Royal Brisbane and The Wesley teaching hospitals in a collaborative partnership.”

Media: For more information, contact Peter McCutcheon (telephone 07 3365 1088, mobile 0413 380012) or Jan King (telephone 07 3365 1120, mobile 0413 601 248) at UQ Communications.