Philips and Houston-Area Hospital Investigate Epidemic Causes

ImagingEconomics | The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, and Philips have collaborated to develop imaging technology that could be used to identify the start and cause of an infectious disease epidemic. The purpose of the suite is to study pathogens that require biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) containment. BSL-3 pathogens include the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

King Li, MD, radiology chair and the project’s leader, and other Methodist scientists will use an $8.6 million imaging suite that includes an MRI, a PET-CT scanner, a SPECT-CT scanner, and an x-ray device called a C-arm, to study patterns of tissue damage and metabolic disarray caused by different infectious disease agents. The suite is scheduled to be completed later this month.

“The ability to have imaging suites that can handle high level infectious agents allows us to be more prepared in the community for these types of events and, more importantly, allows us to study ways to deal with their consequences,” Li said.

“No one can do longitudinal imaging studies anywhere at the moment,” said Ed Jones, VP of operations for The Methodist Hospital Research Institute. “Researchers at Methodist will be able to do live imaging studies that give them crucial information about how and where infections are progressing. This is what can happen when the best scientists and engineers from academia and industry become partners in advancing the state of the art in medical technology.”

Methodist will be the sole practical test site for the development of the technology.


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