Clinical Research Imaging Facility (CRIF)


The University of Dundee has invested heavily in clinical imaging over the last 8 years the Clinical Research Centre (CRC; 2008 £4M) contains a dedicated clinical imaging suite (further £8.4M) providing  state-of-the-art facilities, with a dedicated professional infrastructure to facilitate high-quality clinical research and experimental medicine. The Imaging and Intervention Centre, one of only a few such centres worldwide, houses an advanced 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (100% research dedicated), co-located with a Positron Emission Tomography–Computed Tomography (50% research dedicated) both linked to a fully-equipped image guidance interventional suite (100% research dedicated). The Tayside Academic Health Sciences Centre (www.tahsc.org), a collaboration between UoD and NHS Tayside, fully integrates the CRC imaging with NHS facilities in terms of governance and technical staff, providing an effective operational framework for safe clinical trials completed to the highest standards of Good Clinical Practice’

The CRIF is located at the Level 5 of the Clinical Research Centre (CRC) on the Ninewells campus, i.e., right next to the University Hospital, the School of Medicine and the Dundee Cancer Centre, to name a few of the relevant partnering entities.

The CRIF hosts a PET/CT scanner and a 3T MRI scanner that are both staffed by trained NHS personnel. The area also includes space for radio-pharmaceutical preparation, patient changing areas and a dedicated image analysis area.

PET/CT

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with tracers such as FDG (FluoroDeoxyGlucose) is a non-invasive medical imaging procedure that uses a small quantity of radioactive tracer (analogue to glucose for FDG) to identify abnormal metabolism within the body.

The 128-slice Computerised Tomography (CT) scanner incorporated into the system allows any abnormalities identified via PET to be accurately localised in relation to the surrounding anatomy.

This technique is particularly useful in the diagnosis of patients suspected of having certain forms of cancer. In addition to cancer, it can also be used for various types of cardiovascular and neurological diseases or conditions, either for research or for clinical applications under NHS guidelines.

The CRIF's Siemens Biograph mCT-128 is a state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner, with the ability to perform several thousand scans per year. It was funded by the Scottish Government and has been active since February 2010. The machine has 50% of its time allocated to NHS clinical service with the remainder for carrying out clinical research, and staffing costs are split between NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee.

For further details about the CRIF's PET/CT scanner specifications, please click here

CT

The CRIF's PET/CT scanner is also capable of producing high-resolution 3D and 4D CT scans, such as multiphase and dynamic studies, and vascular examinations of the heart or other organs. The CT capability is also in development as an additional clinical research tool and interventional guidance system.

MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique that produces images using a high magnetic field (e.g., 1 Tesla and above) and the detection of radio-frequencies without relying on ionizing radiation. The CRIF's Siemens Magnetom PrismaFit uses a 3 Tesla magnetic field that is twice as strong as most installed clinical scanners, thereby enabling the production of higher resolution images in a shorter time as well as more advanced protocols.

This scanner, with whole-body capability, has been active since June 2008. It currently supports a range of advanced clinical and research studies (e.g., cardiovascular, cancer and neurological imaging), and also provides assistance to the NHS service when required.

Additional equipment has been funded by the SINAPSE collaboration to support some of our functional-MRI (fMRI) projects, in collaboration with psychologists, psychiatrists and neurosurgeons based not only at NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee, but also at St Andrews University.

The scanner itself was purchased with funds provided via the Souter Charitable Trust and with the assistance of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland. Staffing costs are principally supported by the CSO.

For detailed information about the specifications of the CRIF's MRI scanner, please click here

Image-Guidance capabilities at CRIF

There is a long history of image-guided treatments in Dundee, such as laparascopic and minimally invasive surgery or interventional radiology. The CRIF has been devised to allow patients to have access to the latest image-guided treatments either under CT, MRI, Ultrasound or Fluoroscopic guidance. The CRC is equipped to provide full patient support and recovery facilities. Once completed, the facility can be used for novel treatments in conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pain management. The aim of image guidance is to provide less invasive alternatives to open surgery, thereby permitting a more rapid recovery and lower operative risk for patients. CRIF is amongst the very first centres in the world to offer such potential and works closely with the Division of Imaging & Technology‘s Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT) to develop and evaluate new devices and approaches.

Other Imaging:

The CRIF's dedicated resources are complemented by existing NHS facilities in MRI, CT, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound and X-ray; all of these also boast state-of-the-art equipment with capacity to support clinical research, and there are close ongoing collaborations on a variety of projects and processes.

For starting the process of involving the CRIF in your image-aware research proposal, project or trial, please fill out the corresponding form on the TASC Imaging site

For more information about the potential of our CRIF infrastructure for specific or general imaging prospects, please contact:

Professors Graeme Houston and Douglas Steele Co-Directors Clinical Research Imaging Facility (CRIF) Clinical Research Centre Ninewells Hospital & Medical School Dundee DD1 9SY j.g.houston@dundee.ac.uk d.steele@dundee.ac.uk

Julie Johnston R&D Manager - Imaging Tayside Medical Science Centre Research & Development Office Ninewells Hospital & Medical School George Pirie Way Dundee DD1 9SY 01382 383850 jjohnston1@nhs.net