New centre scans vital organs in under one second
A NEW £20 million centre will scan vital organs in under a second, revolutionising the treatment and diagnosis of some of the Lothians' fastest growing diseases.
NHS Lothian and Edinburgh University have unveiled the unique facility which will benefit thousands of Lothians patients.
The suite next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France has been long in the planning, and will not only save time but improve doctors' insight into various illnesses.
It has been hailed as a world-leader, capitalising on "dramatic" progress on medical imaging over the past ten years.
Among the diseases that will be subject to the new-age scans include cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia - arguably some of the most increasingly prevalent conditions around.
The centre is the first of its kind in the UK, with one of the main benefits being to reduce the number of invasive treatments like biopsies and angiograms.
Prof David Newby, NHS Lothian's head of research and development, said the machine complements equipment already on site at the Queen's Medical Research Centre, which is run by the two organisations.
"This new centre brings together the very latest imaging technologies in a single facility," he said.
"With Edinburgh University's clinical research, this will allow a major improvement in our ability to rapidly investigate and understand the most serious and distressing diseases in our patients."
The Clinical Research Imaging Centre, which was being officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh earlier this week, will change the way disease is monitored as it spreads throughout the body.
Experts said they would be able to examine organs in great detail, tracking blood flow through vessels in organs such as the heart.
That can give greater knowledge of the spread of a disease and the impact - good or bad - that drugs are having.
Among the scanners available will be top-of-the-range MRI and CT scanners, revealing the best possible pictures of common illnesses.
The fact invasive procedures can be limited thanks to the centre's work means patients will have a far less traumatic experience in hospital.
Prof Edwin van Beek, director of the centre, said: "There have been dramatic advances in imaging over the past decade, changing the way we look at disease and our understanding of the biological processes involved.
"As opposed to simply looking at the structures of the body - such as the heart and the brain - we can look at how organs are functioning in real time.
"Those will not only help us better understand disease but it will help us to improve both diagnosis and treatments.".
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