Walton Centre enters research partnership with Toshiba to develop brain scanning applications


Toshiba Medical Systems has announced a research partnership with the Walton Centre (Liverpool, UK) to investigate new developments in neuroscience scanning applications and protocols. The research will be undertaken using Toshiba’s Aquilion One CT scanning technology, acquired by the Walton Centre to provide data on a series of neuro applications.  

The two-year research programme includes the funding of a research fellow, as well as direct consultancy and neuroscience application development assistance from Toshiba.

The Walton Centre, according to a press release, is pioneering scanning at extreme low-contrast dose in the UK. Its early findings indicate that image quality and enhancement using the vastly reduced contrast dose is equal or even better than using higher contrast doses. With a whole brain scan taking less than 0.5 seconds, The Walton Centre is able to isolate data from the arterial phase in order to get a cerebral arterial image without venous flow contamination. Currently a CT angiogram of the brain contrast dose is between 80ml and 100ml. Walton is expected to perform the procedure using between 35ml and 50ml.

“The lower the contrast dose, the better, as it results in less debilitative effects on the kidneys, especially useful for the speedy and safe scanning of ageing patients resulting in minimal disturbance of renal functions. The benefits to the trust from an economic standpoint relate to a halving in use of contrast dose, which has obvious cost savings,” comments Kumar Das, consultant neuroradiologist at the Walton Centre.

Furthering this research, the development of a dynamic CT angiogram is expected to produce high-quality images of the whole brain captured in less than 0.5 of a second. The speed and size of image capture using The Aquilion ONE allows for greater precision in the tracking of contrast flow in the brain, it says in the release. This development will replicate the results produced by catheter angiograms with images captured from arterial and venous phases quickly and effectively. This will ultimately reduce the need for invasive catheter angiogram procedures, resulting in benefits to the patient and Centre alike through the reduction of procedure times from a whole day of care in hospital for patients undergoing catheter angiogram procedures, to just a 10-minute out-patient procedure for a dynamic CT angiogram. Additionally the dynamic CT angiogram will use a maximum 50ml contrast dose as used in the CT cerebral angiogram.

Das comments: “Our initial retrospective analysis of 40 cases has shown that the CT angiogram and the catheter angiogram results are concordant in 90% of all cases. Work will now be done to produce a prospective trial looking at dynamic CTA procedure for patients that would typically go through a catheter angiogram procedure.”

Finally, an innovation in brain tumour imaging application will be investigated in 2013. The researchers at Walton will use the scanner to investigate and identify recurrent tumour tissue against post treatment-related tissue change, which is often a highly complex challenge for neuroradiologists.

Where previously MRI scanner technology would have been used to track and measure recovery, the Aquilion One’s ability to execute a whole brain CT perfusion in a single examination at high speed may allow the grading of tumour material with greater accuracy through more accurate and immediate blood flow analysis. The CT scan would allow for greater resolution in image quality due to its ability to quickly acquire large amounts of data from a high-volume scan of the brain.

Das explains: “This is an incredibly exciting programme of research. Together with Toshiba Medical Systems, we understand that there are great benefits that this neuroscience research will bring to our patients both now and in the future. The Aquilion One technology allows an entire organ to be captured at one time, resulting in extremely fast high-quality image capture, while allowing for a massive reduction in the contrast medium dose exposure—it has enabled a great step forward for our applied neuroscience research across a number of applications.”