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Insight Article

We are innovative not just in our imaging technology, but also in our design and access to services, "Robert McKenney, PhD, of the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging, says quietly.


The technological transformation of an abandoned Kenny Road warehouse into a visionary imaging center that opens this month in the Morehouse Concourse is worthy of the best storybook wizards.

McKenney, OSUMC director of Imaging Research, offers these examples:

  • Technology - The Wright Center houses both a 3 - Tesla and a 7 - Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, among the most powerful devices with human-imaging capabilities. (The gravitational pull of the 7-Tesla is estimated to be 140,000 times that of Earth.) These scanners allow for rapid imaging resolutions, providing faster, better studies of certain conditions and increased patient comfort.
  • Design - While the 3-Tesla MRI rests on a bed of reinforced concrete, the 70,000 pound 7-Tesla magnet floats on columns of air forced into concrete pillars. The bed of air below and a steel cage above guard this "locomotive-sized" device from external disturbances, such as nearby railroad traffic.
  • Access - Large, brightly lit corridors and oak-doored changing rooms are just a few of the ways patient comfort has been incorporated into the imaging facility. But to accommodate all of its patients - even small animals referred from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine - separate parking, entry and waiting areas have been provided.

"The whole center offers very high-end, non-invasive imaging technology in a pleasant, user-friendly atmosphere," adds McKenney.

High-end imaging provides the technology for advanced cancer, heart and neurology research, complementing existing OSU Radiology clinical services housed in the adjacent Morehouse Pavilion.

Tomorrow's Technology

A clinical use of the 7-Tesla MRI is now under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Wright Center researchers are investigating the technology's advanced potential for functional imaging research in cancer, neuroscience and cardiovascular care that could reduce the need for exploratory surgery. Scientists are also developing new ways to aid understanding of disease using a powerful PET (positron emission tomography) scanner.

Studies of advancements in mobile imaging and remote access systems are geared toward preparedness for potential natural or manmade hazards. Organization of a powerful, extensive imaging and bioinformatics infrastructure will help integrate the state's scientific community for more effective future discovery and scientific development.

Imaging Supports Diverse Research

The Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging was launched on May 28, 2003, when Michael Knopp, MD, PhD, chair of the OSU Department of Radiology, received one of the largest research awards ever granted an OSU researcher. On that day, Knopp received a $9.1 million Third Frontier Grant from Governor Bob Taft and an $8 million Biomedical Research and Technology Transfer (BRTT) award, both designed to elevate the state's medical imaging expertise to new heights.

Knopp is an internationally acclaimed expert in the research and clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). He is recognized for his research involving imaging of angiogenesis and therapy response monitoring, cardiovascular imaging, assessment of molecular and functional imagery and contrast agents.

Along with its own goals of advancing MRI, PET and mobile imaging technologies and creating an extensive imaging and bioinformatics infrastructure within the state, the Wright Center also supports other University biomedical research endeavors.

For example, the Wright Center collaborates on two other OSU BRTT projects - one aimed at lung cancer prevention, detection and treatment and the other working to optimize imaging methodologies for cardiovascular disease.

In addition, a PET Core Lab in the Wright Center provides imaging and data collection for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national research group aimed at advancing cancer treatments.

For additional information on the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging, contact Robert McKenney via email: mailto:mckenney.1@osu.edu