Robarts home to Canada’s first MPI system

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) – considered the most promising and emerging imaging technology of the past 20 years – has arrived at Robarts Research Institute.

The MPI system will serve as the technological talisman for molecular and cellular imaging scientists at Robarts and bacteriologists, virologists and immunologists in Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

“MPI technology is expected to change the landscape of modern medical imaging,” said Marlys Koschinsky, PhD, Scientific and Executive Director at Robarts. “And this acquisition further solidifies Robarts Research Institute as one of the world’s leading imaging research centres of excellence.”

MPI is an innovative, ultrasensitive imaging modality that directly detects iron oxide nanoparticle tracers using magnetic fields. Researchers will use the system to track cells in models of disease and therapy, including immune cells used to treat cancer and stem cells for the treatment of neurological and vascular conditions.

“This research will allow for better understanding of disease progression, identification of successful treatments, and early and accurate detection of disease,” explained Paula Foster, PhD, Scientist at Robarts and Professor with the Department of Medical Biophysics.

This is Canada’s first MPI system and only the sixth in the world. “As a brand new imaging technology, there are unique opportunities to further develop the technique and push the limits of sensitivity for tracking cells, pathogens and molecules,” said Foster. “Nearly all experiments performed on this system will be first-ever.”

Funding for the equipment was provided through a Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant which supports Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to increase their capability to carry out high quality research.