The work of physicist Christina Triantafyllou, Ph.D., at Siemens Healthineers was a driving force behind the development of Magnetom Terra, which laid the technical foundations for the clinical application of 7 Tesla imaging
Christina Triantafyllou, Ph.D., an employee at Siemens Healthineers, has been nominated for the German Future Prize for her work on Magnetom Terra, the first ultra-high field magnetic resonance scanner approved for clinical use. Nominated with her are Professor Arnd Dörfler, MD, Head of University Hospital Erlangen’s Department of Neuroradiology, and Professor Mark E. Ladd, Head of the Division of Medical Physics in Radiology at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. They are one of three research teams in contention for the award. The prize, awarded by the President of Germany, is one of the country’s highest distinctions for technology and innovation.
Thanks to the efforts of the team led by Christina Triantafyllou, imaging at a magnetic field strength of 7 Tesla – previously used only in basic research – has been available as a novel and effective diagnostic tool for clinical use since 2017. This development is a breakthrough for precision medicine and brings immediate benefits for patients. Because of its ability to accurately image even tiny structures measuring down to 0.2 mm, Magnetom Terra opens up new opportunities for early diagnosis and personalized treatment of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease in particular.
The German Future Prize will be awarded by Germany’s federal president, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on November 27, 2019, in Berlin.
“Along with the entire team at Siemens Healthineers, I am delighted by this nomination for the German Future Prize. The choice underlines our successful cooperation with research partners around the globe,” said Dr. Bernd Montag, CEO of Siemens Healthineers.. “The development and clinical approval of Magnetom Terra are illustrative of the strengths of Siemens Healthineers. Clinical use of 7 Tesla imaging helps neuroradiological experts detect pathological changes such as MS or Parkinson’s disease at an early stage and offer targeted treatment. This is an outstanding example of the benefits that can be achieved by expanding precision medicine,” said Montag.
Calculation of brain fiber tracks with 1 mm isotropic resolution covering the whole brain. The high signal provided by 7T allows resolving crossing fibers in many brain sub-regions. © Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany
The field strength of 7 Tesla – which is around 140,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field – yields remarkable results: While in the past clinical imaging could only detect pathological changes in the advanced stages of MS, at 7 Tesla these changes can be observed early on.
In terms of key achievements in hardware technology, Magnetom Terra uses a specially developed, innovative actively shielded magnet. Despite its higher performance, it weighs only half as much as the magnets used in previous generation of 7 Tesla systems. Another innovation is its dual mode functionality, that allows users to seamlessly switch between clinical use and research applications. The system is therefore an ideal platform for translational research. Numerous installations in leading hospitals around the world suggest that 7 Tesla imaging will become an integral part of many large teaching and research hospitals in the medium term.