OHSU approves construction and siting of PET/MR

Research leaders

World-class imaging will benefit clinical care and research

July 26, 2017

The OHSU Board of Directors has approved $5.9 million to construct and site a state-of-the-art General Electric SIGNA™ PET/MR (positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging) on the Marquam Hill campus, expanding on a visionary gift to cardiovascular health from Phil and Penny Knight to provide a formidable new resource to OHSU's imaging toolbox, benefiting biomedical research and ultimately patient care.

OHSU purchased the PET/MR a year ago with a portion of the Knights' 2012 gift of $125 million to cardiovascular health. Upon completion of the construction and siting, OHSU will become one of only a handful of academic medical centers across the country to have this technology.

The PET/MR is a key addition to the recently opened Center for Radiochemistry Research (CRR), also funded by the Knight gift. The PET/MR will be sited within the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC) in the Lamfrom Biomedical Research Building and will provide impressive quantitative accuracy and clarity for research faculty through simultaneous positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

PETMRThe Advanced Imaging Research Center is located near the Center for Radiochemistry Research, which allows for rapid transfer of short-lived radio-isotopes and concentrates technical expertise, capabilities and functions of MRI and PET/MR into one large space. Design of the PET/MR is expected to begin this summer with construction launching in April 2018 and estimated completion next December.

"We promised the Knights that an investment in cardiovascular innovation would be an investment in every facet of research at OHSU," said Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., co-director, OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, and Ernest C. Swigert Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine,  professor of medicine and diagnostic radiology associate dean, OHSU School of Medicine. "We are thrilled to deliver on that promise by bringing world-class imaging to campus that will benefit the entire OHSU research community."

The new PET/MR technology will help investigators quantify organ perfusion, assess metabolic pathways and measure pharmacodynamics using imaging agents now available from the Center for Radiochemistry Research. Providers and researchers across multiple fields will have access to a suite of advanced imaging tools to enhance clinical care and accelerate scientific discoveries.

Many at OHSU will benefit from these new capabilities, from dedicated imaging scientists to researchers in oncology, neurology, neurobiology, pharmacology (PET pharmacokinetics), cardiology, regenerative medicine, metabolism and more.

The OHSU Board's decision to invest in the PET/MR's final construction and siting phase caps a years-long planning process by OHSU research faculty and leaders to articulate a vision and identify the tools needed to take cardiovascular, cancer and many other research areas to a world-class level.

"Getting the PET/MR is a faculty leadership victory," said Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Faculty came together to thoughtfully consider and decide on what we needed and how to frame that need to OHSU leadership. The process they followed can now serve as a template for how we continue to procure tools to advance research at OHSU."

OHSU School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson said that OHSU's investment in the PET/MR illustrates the institution's role in multiplying and sustaining the impact of a major philanthropic gift.

"This is the way philanthropy should work," Dr. Anderson said. "The original gift is the catalyst. The institution is the sustainer. The PET/MR is a powerful example of how the institution is investing in technology that supports our faculty and fuels increased collaboration across disciplines to move biomedical science at OHSU to the next level."

OHSU School of Medicine research leaders came together to identify the need and plan for the use of the PET/MR that the OHSU Board has now approved for construction and siting to help take research to the next level. Front row from left are, Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, OHSU School of Medicine; Jeanne Link, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic radiology, OHSU School of Medicine, director, Center for Radiochemistry Research; Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, director, Knight Cardiovascular Institute; Alexander Guimaraes, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of diagnostic radiology, OHSU School of Medicine, Division of Nuclear Medicine; Kenneth Krohn, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic radiology, OHSU School of Medicine, Division of Nuclear Medicine. Back row from left: Bill Rooney, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience, director, Advanced Imaging Research Center; Ramon Barajas, Jr., Ph.D., assistant professor of diagnostic radiology, OHSU School of Medicine, and Fergus Coakley, M.B.B.Ch, professor and chair of diagnostic radiology, OHSU School of Medicine.