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University of Otago and GE Healthcare join forces for innovation

Christchurch campus

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:06am

One of the world’s largest medical technology companies, GE Healthcare, has signed a partnership agreement with the University of Otago, Christchurch’s Centre for Bioengineering.

The partnership agreement is to work together on medical imaging technology projects.

Centre for Bioengineering director Associate Professor Anthony Butler says the agreement is a watershed moment in the development of medical imaging in Christchurch. For Christchurch, it is strong recognition of the international quality of its research and local industry.

Christchurch organisations, including the Centre for Bioengineering, have developed the MARS colour scanner, which is likely to revolutionise medical imaging. Its inventors, including Associate Professor Butler, used technology which helped identify the Higgs Boson, sometimes called the ‘God particle’, in the scanner.

Published research so far shows the scanner can quantify components of atherosclerotic, or cardiac, plaques which can often be fatal if undetected.

Traditional scanning only measures the size of plaques not their make-up. The scanner can also assess fusion of metallic implants with bone, something that traditional CT and MRI scanning is very poor at.

The Chief Executive of GE Healthcare Australia, Michael Ackland, says he is delighted the agreement has come about – in no small way attributable to the ground-breaking work of the Centre for Bioengineering, particularly in the areas of MARS spectral imaging.

More generally, Christchurch is becoming a centre of innovation in medical imaging, with other groups showing much promise, he says.

“Having the University of Otago as lead partner in Christchurch will allow us to develop key relationships within the city as new infrastructure is built and we hope this will lead to a longer relationship with a number of research groups and companies within Christchurch.”

For further information, contact

Associate Professor Anthony Butler
Email: anthony@butler.co.nz

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