Facility

The Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR) at Washington University provides advanced imaging resources and multiple levels of support to clinical investigators.

The CCIR is 8900 square feet of Washington University facility space located on the 10th floor of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital West Pavilion, within the complex that contains nearly all of the inpatient beds, intensive care units, operating rooms, admissions, administration, many radiological services and most laboratories. The 10th floor of the West Pavilion connects directly to the other three inpatient hospital buildings, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The site for the CCIR was selected to maximize accessibility of the valuable imaging resources to research patients, including inpatients (even intensive care patients), outpatients and control subjects. Inpatients can be safely and conveniently brought to the CCIR with minimal imposition on nursing care. Since the CCIR is located directly above the main entrance for the Barnes- Jewish Hospital, access is also simplified for outpatients and healthy control subjects. The CCIR is the first stop on the express elevators of the main hospital lobby. Valet parking and a self-park garage are located directly in front of this entrance, as well.

Schematic of CCIR space on the 10th floor West Pavilion, Barnes Jewish Hospital

The CCIR provides imaging services and state-of-the-art hardware in a central hospital-based location to enable investigators to pursue a wide variety of research objectives across diverse patient groups. The CCIR is housed in an 8,900 square feet facility and possess four dedicated research scanners, which include:

  • 3T MRI scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma Fit)
  • 3T MRI scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Vida)
  • PET/MR scanner (Siemens Biograph mMR
  • PET/CT scanner (Siemens Biograph 40 TruePoint Tomograph)

More than 2000 square feet of the CCIR is devoted to staff work areas such as image workstations for data processing, a nursing station, research coordinator workstations, offices and conference rooms. Patient areas include holding rooms, radiopharmaceutical uptake rooms, dressing rooms with lockers, and consult rooms for exams and consenting.

The CCIR provides extensive imaging-related support including, 1) consultation on protocol design; 2) assistance with the regulatory applications; 3) scanner operation; 4) storage, transfer and archiving of image data; and 5) development of customized approaches to image analysis and assistance on structural/ functional/biological interpretation.

Equipment

3T MR scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma)

The Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma is a high performance 3T scanner particularly aimed at demanding applications and clinical research. It has an 80 mT/m gradient set combined with a 200 (T/m/s) slew rate, enabling superior diffusion white matter tracking. The RF allows for modern parallel acquisition strategies such as multiband, simultaneous multislice imaging. What is more, there is parallel transmission of RF that allows for inner volume imaging (imaging a field of view smaller than the object without aliasing). The PRISMA also employs advanced homogeneous image intensity and shimming functions. The PRISMA has the industry’s highest density head/neck coil providing superior SNR for extreme iPAT performance, with full coverage of the head and neck and seamless integration with the spine and body coils.

3T MR scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Vida)

The Siemens MAGNETOM Vida is a high performance 3T scanner with the first BioMatrix system.  This system leverages a combination of Tim 4G and the BioMatrix technology. The BioMatrix Technology is a new technology that addresses the intrinsic biovariability in humans. BioMatrix is built on three key technological clusters, including 1) BioMatrix Sensors with respiratory sensors integrated in the spine coil, 2) BioMatrix Tuners to adapt and correct the field inhomogeneities induced by patient’s individual anatomies with CoilShim and SliceAdjust technologies, 3) BioMatrix Interfaces to easily manage any type of patient with intelligent interfaces such as Select&GO panels to accelerate workflow. It has a 60 mT/m gradient set combined with a 200 (T/m/s) slew rate. Siemens unique DirectRX technology enable all digital-in/digital-out design that allows for modern parallel acquisition strategies such as multiband, simultaneous multislice imaging. The system is also capable of compressed sensing.  The system at Washington University is outfitted with all available coils, 128 rf channels, multinuclear capability and Resoundant elastography.

PET/MR scanner (Siemens Biograph mMR)

The Biograph mMR (Siemens, Malvern, PA) is the first system in the world that can simultaneously acquire MR and PET data across the whole body, with the MR component capable not only of attenuation correction, but of providing a full diagnostic examination. The scanner at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology was the third to be installed in the United States. It is housed in the CCIR Facility.

The MR system is a 3.0T whole body MRI system with features similar to the Siemens Verio MR scanner and a VB18 platform.  All basic sequences and many sequences in development are compatible with this system. Features include: 60 cm system bore/50 field of view and an integrated MR gradient coil.  Maximum amplitude for all three gradient axes is 45 mT/m and

slew rate is 200 T/m/s. Standard PET-compatible Tim® (Total imaging matrix) head and body phased array coils compatible with the Siemens Verio are available for use. Dedicated carotid flex coils have recently been acquired to allow high resolution/high signal carotid artery atherosclerosis imaging

The PET component features include a detector assembly of 64 Lutetium Oxyorthosilicate

(LSO) crystals that form one block. Each of the 64 crystals are 4x4x20 mm in size.  Light events in the LSO crystals are detected by a 3×3 array of avalanche photo diodes (ADP).  9-channel preamplifiers and driver boards as well as integrated water cooling completes each detector block. This detector assembly is characterized by its small size and is free of magnetic components which would interfere with MR image acquisition.  It has been demonstrated to perform well in strong magnetic fields. 56 of these detector blocks form one detector ring, 8 rings form the PET detector assembly in the Biograph mMR that spans a longitudinal field-of- view (FOV) of 25.8 cm. Transverse FOV is 59.4 cm.  Specialized shielding eliminates magnetic field interference in the PET data processing chain.  The scanner has recently been updated to the VB20P platform and has been updated to include HD PET to improve image resolution.

PET/CT Scanner (Siemens Biograph 40 TruePoint Tomograph)

The CCIR contains the Biograph 40 TruePoint Tomograph, which is a multi-faceted whole-body PET tomography capable of a wide variety of research imaging of the brain, heart and thorax, and whole-body.  The 4-ring PET with greater than 21 cm field of view increases the axial coverage per bed position to provide faster whole-body PET/CT protocols. The Biograph 40 provides software applications that maximize efficiency of acquisition and processing.

The Biograph 40 provides a large gantry opening, continuous patient port and short tunnel length, high-count rate, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of metabolic and physiologic processes combined with high performance spiral computed tomography (CT) applications.

PET System of the Biograph 40

The PET imaging capability of the Biograph 40 consists of a multi-LSO-detector ring system with 3D acquisition and reconstruction and 109 image planes with an extended 21.6 cm axial field of view, enabling the detection of 78% more photons (compared with conventional field of view).  Features include:

– High spatial slice resolution (less than 5 mm) in trans-axial and axial dimensions.

– Slice spacing (2mm) optimized for speed and resolution.

– Pico-3D ultra fast electronics for decreased deadtime and high signal-to-noise.

– ACS III acquisition computer system for high countrate capability.

– PRS reconstruction system for fast reconstruction of PET data.

– Fast acquisition and reconstruction of 128 x 128 and 168 x 168 matrices.

– Unique block detector technology provides excellent temporal and energy resolution response.

– Simultaneous data acquisition and image reconstruction for high patient

throughput.

– Static, whole body, and list mode acquisition capability.

– 847 mm detector ring diameter.

– 70 cm gantry aperture.

– 21.6 cm axial field of view.

– Dual operator controls on gantry for positioning from either side of patient.

– TrueC advanced scatter correction technique.

CT System of the Biograph 40

The CT imaging capability of the Biograph 40 consists of a 40-slice CT featuring a full range of SPIRAL CT clinical applications with highest performance. Features include:

– Aperture: 70 cm; power supplied via low-voltage slipring.

– Rotational speed of the gantry: 162 rpm with a rotation time of 370 ms.

– Adaptive Array Detector (AAD) system based on UFCTM (Ultrafast Ceramics) with 26880 elements in 40 rows, 1344 channels per slice and up to 4640 projections per 360° rotation.

– Up to 40 images per rotation of below 0.6 mm isotropic resolution.

– STRATON tube high-performance X-ray system provide direct cooling of the anode with the ball bearings located outside the vacuum. The direct anode

cooling and the small and compact design of the anode plate (120 mm diameter)

eliminates the need for heat storage capacity (0 MHU) and enables an unprecedented cooling rate of 5.0 MHU/min. Therefore, cooling delays between multiple long range scans are eliminated, even for large patients.

– The STRATON X-ray tube utilizes an electron beam that is accurately and rapidly deflected, creating two precise focal spots alternating 4640 times per second. This doubles the X-ray projections reaching each detector element. The two overlapping projections result in an oversampling in z-direction, known as Double z-Sampling. The resulting measurements interleave half a detectorslice width, doubling the scan information without a corresponding increase in dose.  Siemens’ high-speed UFCTM detector enables a virtually simultaneous readout of two projections for each detector element – 2 x 20 slices for every