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Cardiff University and Siemens Healthineers forge strategic alliance

26 October 2023

Five people stand in a room and smile at the camera.
Left to right: Professor Derek Jones, Dr Craig Buckley, Dr Belinda Ding Yuan, Dr Alexandra Olaru, Vickie Harris

Cardiff University and Siemens Healthineers have entered a strategic partnership to develop advanced medical technologies, with a key focus on imaging and in vitro diagnostics.

The alliance builds on a ten-year collaboration between the global healthcare solutions company and the University, supporting innovation in world-class imaging research and precision diagnostics.

Professor Ian Weeks, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, said: “This unique collaboration will transform how we use our collective expertise in imaging, clinical laboratory diagnostics and data science to develop integrated diagnostic methods for the earlier and more accurate diagnosis and treatment of disease. The partnership is committed to the global effort to positively change the lives and experience of those requiring healthcare interventions.”

Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) is at the heart of the partnership, bringing together magnetic resonance (MR) technology from Siemens Healthineers with Cardiff’s world-leading expertise in brain mapping and clinical innovation.

The partners will work together to harness innovations in MR hardware, biophysical modelling and MR acquisition strategies using Artificial Intelligence to develop highly efficient acquisition protocols to capture intricate 'fingerprints' of tissue microstructure in health, developmental processes, aging, and various disease states. This will transform the understanding of complex biological systems and enable earlier diagnosis and treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia.

Moreover, integration of imaging and biochemical analysis modalities will provide innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of other conditions including cancer and diseases associated with infection and immunity.

Professor Derek Jones, CUBRIC Director, said: "I am absolutely delighted that we are formalising our long-standing collaboration with Siemens Healthineers - a world-leading MR equipment manufacturer.

“Through closer collaboration and shared objectives, we will push the boundaries of what can be achieved in magnetic resonance imaging, particularly in the realms of microstructural imaging, next-generation hardware, and the democratisation of MRI – providing low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries with remote access to our high-end scanners and all the data they produce, so that everyone, everywhere can benefit from the latest advances in MR technology.”

Siemens Healthineers has a major presence in Wales and last year celebrated the 30th anniversary of its facility in Llanberis by launching a new centre of excellence in healthcare technology with Welsh Government support, focusing on research, development and manufacturing.

CUBRIC’s research facilities include the 3 Tesla MAGNETOM Skyra Connectom MRI system from Siemens Healthineers, a specially adapted MRI scanner with unparalleled gradient strength, of which there are only four in the world.

Welcoming the strategic partnership, Dr Craig Buckley, Head of Research and Scientific Collaborations, Siemens Healthineers Great Britain and Ireland, said: "This strategic partnership between Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre and Siemens Healthineers marks the next step towards achieving our shared vision, where diagnoses are more nuanced, treatments more precise and healthcare more sustainable. Leveraging a fleet of MRI systems supported by scientists from Siemens Healthineers, the partnership is set to enable advances in microstructural imaging research among other exciting areas in imaging and precision medicine. Together, we are working to facilitate open access to care and empower health equity."

The partnership also builds on existing collaborations in the field of clinical laboratory diagnostics. CUBRIC already hosts one onsite scientist from Siemens Healthineers, developing collaborative projects with CUBRIC researchers to create a step-change in imaging technology. CUBRIC has already leveraged the power of Siemens Healthineers imaging technology to secure grant income of over £54.5 million.

The partnership will support the aims of Siemens Healthineers across research and development, talent, skills, diversity and civic and social responsibility. Convening other Cardiff partners, including the NHS, it aims to empower healthcare providers to achieve better patient outcomes at lower cost, by expanding precision medicine, improving patient experience, and digitising healthcare.

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