A new MRI scanner facility the British Heart Foundation has part-funded will help expand vital research into heart and circulatory diseases has opened at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.
MRI scanners are used to produce detailed images of the inside of the body using strong magnetic fields and radio waves.
Currently, researchers in Leicester can scan 500 cardiovascular research participants a year. The new facility will increase this to 1,500 and allow for new research into metabolism at rest and exercise, capabilities only available in a handful of centres across the UK.
The new scanner facility has been funded by a £1 million grant from the British Heart Foundation. It will be jointly owned by Leicester’s Hospitals, which has dedicated £2.1 million to the facility, and the University of Leicester.
The joint ownership of the facility will allow for improved patient clinical care as well as increasing capacity for cardiovascular research for both the University of Leicester and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) – a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.
The launch of the new MRI scanner facility builds on the successes of cardiovascular research in Leicester. The imaging team has secured over £9 million in external grants and published over 100 papers in the last five years, influenced guideline changes for coronary artery disease, and have been the largest recruiter for a study intro multi-organ imaging for Covid-19.
Making discoveries happen
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation Medical Director, said:
“The BHF currently funds over £15 million of life-saving research at the University of Leicester, and researchers must have access to the most advanced tools they need.
“This upgraded scanner will produce more detailed images of the heart faster, which will benefit both researchers and patients. Investments like this are vital in making discoveries happen and turning them into medical advances that could transform and save lives.
“Funding provided by the BHF has only been made possible by the generosity of the public, whose donations we rely on to fund our vital research into heart and circulatory diseases.”