Magnetic resonance is a major preclinical and clinical imaging modality ideally suited for longitudinal studies, e.g. in pharmacological developments. The lack of a proven platform that maintains an identical imaging protocol between preclinical and clinical platforms is solved with the construction of an animal scanner based on clinical hard- and software.
A small animal magnet and gradient system were connected to a clinical MR system. Several hardware components were either modified or built in-house to achieve compatibility. The clinical software was modified to account for the different field-of-view of a preclinical MR system. The established scanner was evaluated using clinical QA protocols, and platform compatibility for translational research was verified against clinical scanners of different field strength.
The constructed animal scanner operates with the majority of clinical imaging sequences. Translational research is greatly facilitated as protocols can be shared between preclinical and clinical platforms. Hence, when maintaining sequences parameters, maximum similarity between pulses played out on a human or an animal system is maintained.
Coupling of a small animal magnet with a clinical MR system is a flexible, easy to use way to establish and advance translational imaging capability. It provides cost and labor efficient translational capability as no tedious sequence reprogramming between moieties is required and cross-platform compatibility of sequences facilitates multi-center studies.