GE Healthcare and Varian Inc. recently announced their joint agreement to develop a new pre-clinical 7T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging system.

Under the deal, the two companies will work together on the product’s initial development and integration.  Once development is complete, Varian will offer customers a fully integrated 7T system that combines GE Healthcare’s electronics, user interface, pulse-sequences and applications with Varian’s magnet, gradients, positioning devices and RF coils.

Varian President and CEO Garry Rogerson said pre-clinical imaging, as a versatile and non-invasive method to investigate anatomy, metabolism, and physiology in research models, is a key area of growth for his company. Furthermore, it has a wide range of applications in soft tissues, including brain and organ imaging, tumor assessment, disease progression, and functional imaging, and it allows researchers to investigate new contrast mechanisms and agents, monitoring gene expression, analyze protein interactions, and determine  pharmacokinetics. 

Jim Mitchell, general manager of Molecular Imaging technologies for GE Healthcare, said his company anticipates being able to expand the preclinical imaging offering it shares with Varian, which includes PET, SPECT, CT scanners, as well as dual and tri-modality imaging systems.