Regional imaging excellence at heart of partnership

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A new partnership between Western, London hospitals and a medical technology pioneer will make southwestern Ontario a “global powerhouse” when it comes to state-of-the-art imaging research and clinical application.

Announced today, the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics brings Western, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and Siemens Healthineers together in a partnership focused on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), interventional angiography, cardiology and cardiac surgery.

“This partnership represents another important building block in the incredible foundation of imaging excellence that we have in London,” said Dr. Narinder Paul, Chair/Chief of the Department of Medical Imaging at LHSC, St. Joseph’s, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

“Not only will we become leaders in state-of-the-art imaging and intervention through the centre of excellence, but thanks to the research contribution from Siemens Healthineers, we will also have dedicated funds for critical research in cardiovascular and neurological diseases that will translate to improved services and outcomes for patients in London and the region.”

This new partnership also includes the creation of an education, training and scientific research support fund in the area of advanced diagnostic imaging and therapeutics. Siemens will provide more than $1 million in support funding for research, advanced clinical applications, teaching and outcomes analysis.

The research fund will support collaborations between teams in diagnostic and interventional radiology, cardiology, and cardiac surgery, with imaging scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western’s Robarts Research Institute, as well as teams from across the university.

These teams will partner with scientists from Siemens Healthineers to focus on improving both the patient experience and the outcomes in important cardiovascular and neurological diseases. The funds will be leveraged against provincial and federal research grants to increase the funds available to the teams.

“Collectively, Western and our partner institutions in London are becoming a global powerhouse, recognized for our expertise and facilities in imaging that drives discovery and innovation across a broad range of disciplines,” said Alan Shepard, Western President and Vice-Chancellor. “This partnership with Siemens Healthineers builds on our strengths, increases capacity to enhance patient care, and expands opportunities to integrate education, training and research for the benefit of learners and faculty.

“It’s a huge win for London and southwestern Ontario.”

The announcement builds further on more than 40 years of Canadian leadership in biomedical imaging excellence at Western, where a unique combination of researchers, integrated research programs, affiliated hospitals and world-class infrastructure offer the perfect location to provide insight into the future of health care.

Western boasts unique infrastructure covering all major imaging modalities and biomedical applications. Its work in the area is powered by more than 350 dedicated personnel, including more than 10 Canada Research Chairs. The Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at Robarts houses Canada’s only collection of high-field (3T human) and ultra-high field (7T human and 9.4T animal) MR systems.

The Centre of Excellence in Advanced Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics will provide hands-on training in MRI, diagnostic, and interventional catheter procedures through development of advanced simulation and phantom models.

Medical learners and radiologists, cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and technologists in London and from across Canada will be able to access this centre to improve their diagnostic and therapeutic skills, which will in turn improve patient access to skilled clinicians.

As part of the partnership, LHSC and St. Joseph’s are acquiring six clinical MRIs and six angiogram suites to be used for patient care.

“Investments in capital equipment, such as these new MRI machines and angiogram suites, are incredibly important as they will immediately translate into safer, higher quality care for the patients we serve – in this case it’s by offering the highest resolution images available, in less time, and with improved comfort for patients,” said Dr. Paul Woods, President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre.

“London has an illustrious history of innovation that has been groundbreaking in shaping the scope and possibilities of medical imaging within the health-care system,” said Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “This exciting partnership ensures our ongoing leadership and expertise in the introduction of leading-edge medical imaging technologies and is a critical step toward new approaches in imaging research and patient care.”