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Combination of MRI and PET

It is the so far unique combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with positron emission tomography (PET) which opens up new perspectives for researchers.

The hybrid device, with a field strength of 9.4 tesla, provides high-resolution images of brain structure which simultaneously show the functional activities occurring in the healthy and the diseased parts of the brain. For the first time, this device enables scientists to simultaneously analyse the structure and function of the brain down to a molecular level, as MRI enables insight into different types of tissue in the brain while PET exposes the physiological and biochemical activities.

Simultaneous MR-PETStandard image (left), the accelerated image with aliasing artefacts (centre), the accelerated image with removed artefacts (right).

From 3T to 9.4T

The innovative combination of the two techniques in one device creates methodological and technical challenges for the developers of "9komma4". The infrastructures in Jülich allow the validation of all the methodologies at 3T using the same MR-PET technology as used at 9.4T. Based on this platform it is possible to translate clinical methods to ultra high field MRI. Mor e information on the ongoing MR-PET projects can be found here: MR-PET projects.
In addition to the use of standard MR-PET methods here in Jülich, the use of high fields enables the development of new tracers based on high energy positrons, as the use of high fields also influence the positrons (charged particles) reducing the positron range and increasing resolution [1].

1. Shah NJ, Herzog H, Weirich C, Tellmann L, Kaffanke J, Caldeira L, et al. (2014) Effects of Magnetic Fields of up to 9.4 T on Resolution and Contrast of PET Images as Measured with an MR-BrainPET. PLoS ONE 9(4): e95250.