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Two experts from Siemens Healthineers nominated for German Future Prize for development of novel low-field MR platform

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | September 13, 2023 MRI
Employees of Siemens Healthineers Dr. Stephan Biber and Dr. David Grodzki, together with Prof. Michael Uder, MD, Director of the Radiological Institute of Uniklinikum Erlangen, Germany, have been nominated for the German Future Prize (“Deutscher Zukunftspreis”; Federal President’s Award for Technology and Innovation) for the development and clinical application of the novel MRI platform Magnetom Free.

Magnetom Free represents a paradigm shift in MRI, as the cost-effective and energy-efficient system platform greatly simplifies access to this imaging technology, which is crucial for the diagnosis of many diseases. A key element is the innovative magnetic cooling system that dramatically reduces helium requirements from up to 1,500 liters to 0.7 liters per system. Furthermore, Magnetom Free comes with a lower field strength of just 0.55 Tesla, and artificial intelligence for high-quality image reconstruction. The platform’s more compact size, larger bore, and ease of use also play an important role. “We are delighted to have been nominated for the German Future Prize,” said Bernd Montag, CEO of Siemens Healthineers. “Stephan Biber and David Grodzki, in close collaboration with Michael Uder, have developed a completely novel magnetic resonance imaging platform and brought it into clinical use. Magnetom Free.Max and Magnetom Free.Star pave the way for a new, simple type of MRI that can make an even greater contribution to the health of people worldwide by bringing the technology to places it couldn’t reach before. The fourth Future Prize nomination for Siemens Healthineers in just seven years underscores the innovative power of our company.”

More than half of the world’s population has no access to MRI. This is despite the fact that this radiation-free type of medical imaging can add great value to the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases—from the early detection and treatment of cancer to neurological disorders and orthopedic complaints. But the technology of conventional MRI systems also comes with certain hurdles. For example, the superconductive magnet must be permanently cooled with up to 1,500 liters of liquid helium. This can make transporting and operating the systems difficult because helium is not always readily available, depending on local infrastructure. Installing the large units, which typically weigh at least four tons, is not easy—they often have to be brought into buildings with the help of a crane and building alterations may also be necessary. In addition to these infrastructural challenges, qualified personnel are needed to operate the complex system and set the scanning parameters. For certain patient groups, such as children or obese and claustrophobic patients, an MRI exam also poses a challenge due to the confined space for the patient within conventional MRI systems.
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