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Unique radiology center puts research scanners in the heart of a hospital

by Michael Johns, Project Manager | March 12, 2008
The Center for Clinical
Imaging Research (CCIR)
is a state-of-the-art
biomedical imaging facility.
Feb. 26, 2008 -- Whether it's needed to track the activity of a drug, the growth of a tumor or the progress of a medical disorder, high-tech imaging equipment often is an essential component of advanced clinical research.

Unfortunately, patient care typically keeps these machines and the doctors who run them jammed with activity, often making it necessary to fit in research activities late at night or on the weekends.

Researchers and administrators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are taking a new approach: They have created a multimillion-dollar imaging facility in the heart of Barnes-Jewish Hospital that is dedicated to scientific research.

"The Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR) is available for research 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that just opens up all kinds of possibilities," says R. Gilbert Jost, M.D., the Elizabeth Mallinckrodt Professor and head of Washington University's Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR). The Institute held the top spot in National Institutes of Health research funding of radiology departments in the 2005 and 2006 fiscal year, and its 427 academic employees make it one of the largest radiology departments in the nation.

The 9,000-square-foot CCIR, located on the 10th floor of the West Pavilion of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, provides a comprehensive selection of the latest state-of-the-art imaging equipment, including high-resolution positron emission tomography (PET), three-dimensional ultrasound, high-powered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 64-slice computed tomography (CT) and advanced PET-CT scanners.

"Radiology provides clinical-imaging services for all the departments in the medical school, and our goal for CCIR is to provide that same kind of broad support for research programs in every department," says Mark Mintun, M.D., professor of radiology, director of the center and director of the Division of Research Development at MIR.

"Barnes-Jewish Hospital is pleased to be the site of this unique facility," says Andrew A. Ziskind, M.D., president of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "I don't know of any other institution that has committed to providing researchers with the full spectrum of clinical imaging equipment located within a hospital, thereby making it possible to study both inpatients as well as outpatients."

Inspiration and support for CCIR came from Washington University's BioMed 21 program, a University-wide initiative dedicated to accelerating the development of basic science discoveries into new and improved patient treatments.