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Ohio fund awards $2.5 M to study PET-MRI, cardiac CT

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 06, 2011
An Ohio state-run fund awarded $2.5 million in grants to a consortium of industry and university researchers to study PET-MRI's usefulness in detecting breast cancer and whether a CT scan can be a "one stop shop" for gauging a patient's health after a heart attack.

The grants, doled out by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, went to the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, a collaboration founded in June 2010 by Philips, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The center was initially funded by a $5 million grant from the commission, and a $33.4 million matching investment from Philips.

The commission, founded in 2002, seeks to create technology-based jobs in Ohio.
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"This additional funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission further establishes Northeast Ohio as a worldwide hub for imaging technology," Dr. Pablo Ros, chair of radiology with Case Western's medical school and the hospital, said in a statement.

The new grants include $999,649 for a project at the Case hospital's cancer center to use its new PET-MRI device to better find breast cancers. MRI often has a high false-positive rate as it tends to pick up harmless abnormalities, the groups said, but they hope adding PET might improve its accuracy. Raymond Muzic, associate professor of radiology, oncology and biomedical Engineering at Case Western, will lead the project.

A $1.58 million grant will go toward research on low-dose cardiac perfusion CT scans. Here, scientists will see if the scans can show reduced blood flow in the heart after a heart attack or damage to the heart muscle. With this knowledge, doctors could perhaps make better treatment decisions. If successful, this project, led by David Wilson, professor of professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Case Western, could expand the market for Philips' CT scanners, many of which are made in Highland Heights, Ohio, the company said.

As part of the Ohio commission's fund-matching requirements, the consortium is also giving $1 million to each project.

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