An expanded Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, an
internationally renowned research center of the University at Buffalo
that works with clinicians and researchers around the world to advance
the understanding of diseases of the brain, spinal cord and optic
nerve, was unveiled today in Buffalo General Hospital.
The center is an arm of the Jacobs Neurological Institute, which is the Department of Neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It leases space in Buffalo General through a partnership with Kaleida Health, which invested $10 million in creating the new, larger space for the BNAC.
The state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot renovated space was sealed off for the past 30 years; it formerly housed an incinerator and animal research facilities and had become home to pigeons. The architectural firm Smith + Accordo Architects of Rochester developed the plan for the dramatic transformation of the space.
The BNAC is headed by Robert Zivadinov, M.D., Ph.D., a leader in the
field of neuroimaging and UB associate professor of neurology.
Zivadinov will lead one of two imaging sessions at ECTRIMS, the most
prestigious international conference dedicated to the research of
multiple sclerosis, to be held next month in Prague, Czech Republic.
The center, Zivadinov explained at a press conference to unveil the
expanded center, "strives to extend the boundaries of current knowledge about neurological diseases and disorders through innovative research techniques and the application of the most advanced bioinformatics resources.
"These state-of-the art expanded facilities will allow us to provide
important new information on multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease
and other devastating neurological conditions that we hope will be of
great benefit to patients," he said.
The major work of the BNAC involves storing, manipulating and
extracting useful information from tens of thousands of high-resolution three- and four-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve for research studies, clinical trials and individual patient analyses.
These images are able to show the process of atrophy under the
disease's onslaught and link stages of atrophy with physical and
cognitive symptoms. This information allows physicians to make a more
accurate diagnosis and prognosis of disease. The research based on the
BNAC's analysis of MRI images has led to several new insights into
understanding the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis.
The BNAC is affiliated with more than a dozen institutions, nationally
and internationally, and has participated in more than $8 million in
research projects involving international collaboration with a variety
of clinicians and scientists. The center is world-renowned for its
advances in MRI research and publications.
To meet the demand for its services and research activities, the BNAC
has developed its own dedicated computer network capable of storing
more than 11 terabytes of data. State-of-the-art dual Xeon processor
servers provide the capacity necessary for detailed analyses of
different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and a gigabyte
backbone provides fast access for all terminal workstations, even under heavy-load conditions.
This internal network is connected through secure tunnels and multiple
firewalls to MRI centers worldwide, allowing the BNAC to receive MRI
studies from centers around the world and analyze them moments after
Local MRI scans are performed on state-of-the-art, General Electric 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla MRI machines at the new Buffalo Niagara MRI Center, also located in Buffalo General Hospital. The BNAC is one of the few
centers in the United States designated as a General Electric Research
Partner, which allows the center to run conventional and non-conventional sequences on the MRI machines for research protocols
and for individual clinical studies.
Technical and research personnel manning the center include two imaging directors, three certified clinical neuroimagers, four physician neuroimagers and database managers, seven research assistants, a chief research assistant, two MRI physicists, a systems administrator, two computer scientists, a study coordinator and a biostatistician. External consultants support the BNAC in a variety of different fields.
A cornerstone of the BNAC approach is the conviction that quantitative
MRI measures can and should be used by physicians to aid in
diagnosis/prognosis and in decisions regarding disease-modifying
therapy. In the field of multiple sclerosis in particular, the BNAC
has identified four quantitative MRI variables that are reliable
markers of disease progression, and is creating individual quantitative MRI reports on a daily basis. Quantitative analysis allows for the detection of very small changes in disease progression that cannot be observed clinically.
SOURCE: UB-News Service