Hawaiian Researchers Choose Cryogen-free MRI to Study Kidney Disease

MR Solutions has installed a cryocooler-based, and thus cryogen-free, preclinical MRI imaging system at the University of Hawaii to help researchers improve the rate of kidney disease detection. One in seven residents on the island has chronic kidney disease, a figure far higher than normal among its residents of Japanese, Filipino and Native Hawaiian descent. The research will focus on both disease development and questions as to why these particular ethnic groups are more prone to kidney disease.

Researchers use the 7T MRI imaging system to visualize soft tissue within the kidneys using a contrast agent that highlights particular areas within the organ, enabling the university team to identify any change over time.

“This is a much-needed resource to help detect kidney disease within the Hawaiian population—with a view to making it a thing of the past or at least reduce the likelihood of getting the disease,” says Kevin Bennett, a professor at the University of Hawaii who developed the unique contrast agent and is the primary researcher on the project.

MR Solutions’ preclinical MRI technology can be accommodated in most laboratories due to its compact size as the system is cryogen-free it does not require the costly helium top-ups necessary in older preclinical MRI settings. At the University of Hawaii, the MRI system will also support a wide range of other projects including neuroscience, cardiovascular, molecular imaging, physiology and genomics research.

According to MR Solutions, it is the only company in the world to offer a range of commercially available multi-modality MRI scanners from 3T to 9.4T that do not require liquid helium. Its representatives say that MR Solutions’ scanners can be wheeled into a lab, compared to the helium cooled models that need their own room and substantial building modifications due to their size and weight.