Platform 1: Imaging & Scanning

Principal Investigators

Dr Anthony Butler, University of Otago, Christchurch
Professor Alistair Young, University of Auckland


Medical imaging is a critical part of the medical technology industry. Worldwide it is a US$30B per year industry, growing at around 7% per year. New Zealand is a world leader in many imaging technologies, including MARS spectral imaging and cardiac MRI. The purpose of the Imaging and Scanning Technology Platform for the MedTech CoRE, is to foster new methods and tools for the imaging and scanning needs of the MedTech CoRE flagship projects, and progress the NZ development of imaging technologies. Several medical and pre-clinical imaging methodologies are under active development, including methods for measuring biomarkers. These biomarkers can be either intrinsic such as fat/water concentration and blood flows, or extrinsic using injected pharmaceuticals. These allow measurement and monitoring of disease and its treatment over time.

1. MARS Spectral CT

UC and UO have developed a spectral CT scanner for molecular imaging. Pre-clinical scanners are being used by researchers in orthopaedics, implants, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The goals are to make the pre-clinical (small gantry) scanners to NZ medical researcher with the goals of:

  1. Ensuring a wide range of applications have been developed for future clinical trials
  2. Provide the technology to NZ industry. Eg Enzec, Ossis, Botiq-nanoparticles etc

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Spectral CT image, courtesy of MARS Bioimaging, assigns colors to individual molecular signatures for improved biomedical imaging. - See more here

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Staff and students with a MARS pre-clinical scanner at the University of Otago, Christchurch

2. Medical Imaging Infrastructure

A variety of imaging facilities are available for imaging research in NZ. Recently, the University of Auckland has installed state of the art ultrasound imaging scanners and simulation equipment, including 3D real time cardiac imaging. This technology will support Flagship 2 to translate technology initially developed for MRI to echocardiographic platforms.