The Florey’s imaging technology receives investment boost

Biomedical imaging capabilities and infrastructure at The Florey and across Victoria has received a boost thanks to multi-million-dollar investment from The Victorian Government and partners. The funding will improve patient access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and enable higher quality scans for brain conditions including epilepsy and essential tremor.

The investment of $14.83 million through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF) will equate to a $50 million boost in National Imaging Facility (NIF) imaging capabilities and infrastructure from The Victorian Government in partnership with the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability (VBIC).

The Florey’s MRI facility is a node of the NIF and the VBIC networks.

Researcher looking at a brain scan on a computer screen

Announced by Victorian Minister for Higher Education, the Hon Gayle Tierney MP, the investment highlights the impact of the collaboration and the State Government’s investment through the VHESIF initiative.

The funding boost will help to support the upgrade and expansion of existing imaging capabilities at The Florey and across NIF’s other research facilities in Victoria.

This includes a newly installed 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine at The Florey’s Heidelberg Campus. This machine utilises new technology to correct head motion during scans, enabling researchers to perform high-quality MRI scans on patients prone to moving without anaesthetic.

Also funded under the collaboration is critical equipment which works alongside The Florey’s MRI scanners – a state-of-the-art high-intensity focused ultrasound which allows researchers to perform non-invasive thermal ablations for conditions such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.

“This investment by the Victorian state government will usher a new era of brain surgery that is incision-free and takes place inside an MRI scanner” said Associate Professor Heath Pardoe, Neuroimaging Lead for The Florey.

“The new technology funded under this grant will offer new treatment options for Victorians with movement disorders and other neurological conditions such as epilepsy. For people who are suitable for this procedure it means less time in hospital and a shorter recovery relative to more established surgical approaches.”

Also funded under the collaboration was an upgrade to the Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit’s high-field 7T MRI, one of only two in Australia and located within The Florey’s Parkville Campus.

The research MRI facilities at The Florey facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration between clinicians and scientists across Melbourne and includes high-resolution neuroanatomical, functional and diffusion imaging.