LONDON, May 28 /PRNewswire/ --

- New MRI System Under Development Could Potentially Lead to Diagnosis and Treatment in a Single Session

Breast cancer patients will receive faster treatment due to the development of a new, dedicated intra-operative magnetic resonance (MR) scanner which will enable doctors to carry out image-guided surgery as soon as problems are detected and diagnosed - possibly in a single out-patient session.


- MRI does not involve the use of potentially harmful ionising radiation - Cancer diagnosis to treatment, potentially reduced, to one outpatient session - Non-invasive & Minimally-invasive treatment procedures leading to rapid recovery - Real-time image guided clinical procedures for increased diagnostic and treatment accuracy - Potential to rapidly diagnose and treat most cancers such as breast, prostate, liver and kidney

The innovative new technology is being developed by Specialty Magnetics Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Specialty Scanners plc) in collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC). This is the second MR scanner research and development project in which Specialty Magnetics Limited is collaborating with the ICR and the STFC. This new GBP3.2 million project, which began in April-2008, will receive an investment of GBP1.6 million from the UK Government-sponsored Technology Strategy Board.

Using conventional MR Imaging (MRI) systems, patients have to be removed from the scanner and the results analysed before any surgical treatment can be conducted. But the new Intra-operative, Dedicated Breast MR Scanner being developed will allow image-guided surgery to take place in "real time" at the moment the problem is detected and diagnosed.

The new Intra-operative MR Scanner project will provide an excellent platform for treating tumours using non-invasive or minimally invasive ablation techniques such as focused-ultrasound or cryo-ablation leading - unlike in open excisional surgery - to less trauma, more breast tissue conservation, potentially no hospitalisation and less anxiety and stress to women.

With one-in-nine women, on average, developing breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, this new technology could dramatically change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated and the patients are likely to see dramatic benefits. The new technology will enable the integration of image guided diagnostic and treatment procedures, seamlessly under one-roof, thereby shortening the women's pathway to treatment potentially, from several weeks and even months to one outpatient session.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented;

"The Technology Strategy Board supports the research and development of technology and innovation that both increases economic growth and has the potential to improve quality of life. We are therefore delighted to support this project, which brings together the UK's world class expertise and has the potential to bring significant benefits to many thousands of patients."

Prof Martin Leach, Director, Cancer Research UK Clinical MR Research Group, Institute of Cancer Research commented;

"The ICR has a long history of interest and involvement in the breast cancer research and have also been involved in the collaborative technology development projects targeting breast cancer. For instance, the UK wide MARIBS study -comparing the role of MR imaging (MRI) with the x-ray mammography (XRM) in the screening of a women at high risk - was led by the ICR. Findings of this pioneering study led to the issue of the new, updated guidelines by the NICE recommending the use of MRI in the screening of high-risk women. Under the new NICE guidelines, the centres offering screening services should also be capable of performing MRI-guided biopsy procedures. As an Academic Partner, we believe we can contribute a great deal to the successful execution of many aspects of this project and looking forward to that opportunity."

Dr Tom Bradshaw, Head of Cryogenics, Science & Technology Facilities Council commented;

"This is an highly exciting project and its successful execution will require the application of multi-disciplinary skills. In that respect, the STFC is perhaps a rather uniquely placed organisation where many scientists and engineers with such a diverse range of skills - including expertise in cryogenics, robotics, display and materials technologies - are gathered in one location. There is consensus that in addition to the other form of cancer treatment options such as radio-therapy and chemo-therapy, the minimally invasive thermal ablation therapy method of cryo-ablation can play an important role in the management of many suitably selected group of patients. We also believe that MRI is the ideal modality for guiding the thermal ablation procedures and we are looking forward to the opportunity of making our own innovative contributions."

Dr Ali Akgun, CEO, Specialty Scanners plc commented;

"We are extremely pleased that our wholly-owned subsidiary, Specialty Magnetics Limited will be, once again, working closely with the ICR and the STFC in another award winning project as a Lead and Industrial Partner. We value highly our now well- established links with these two highly eminent academic institutions. Our first collaboration has resulted in the creation of a truly dedicated and novel Breast MR Scanner, and I am confident that by bringing together their considerable expertise and resources these three partners will successfully execute this rather worthwhile project too. There is a great deal of interest in the availability of integrated, 'one-stop' Clinical Assessment & Treatment Service (CATS) Centres for cancer management and our Intra-operative MR Scanner project will help the Company to pioneer the construction of such a centre for breast cancer management and raise further the quality of care for women."


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The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its mission is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). For more information please visit


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The Institute of Cancer Research is one of the world's leading cancer research organisations and is internationally renowned for the quality of its science. The Institute is a college of the University of London and works in partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. From its foundation in 1909 as a small research department of the Royal Marsden Hospital, The Institute has grown to become one of the world's foremost independent cancer research organisations.

ICR's vision: Is that people may live their lives free from the fear of cancer as a life threatening disease.

ICR's mission: Is to relieve human suffering by pursuing excellence in the fight against cancer through:

- Research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and methods of treatment of cancer - Education and advanced training of medical and scientific staff - Treatment and care of the highest quality for cancer patients - Attraction and development of resources to the optimum effect - All that we do is driven by a set of values, which reflect ICR's mission.

The work of The Institute would not be possible without support from a variety of partner organisations including The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, ICR's largest funders - Cancer Research UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer - and the Wellcome Trust. The Institute is also a College of the University of London. The ICR collaborate with many other international and UK cancer charities and organisations in order to gain resources.


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The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.

The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

- The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire - The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire - The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

The Council gives researchers access to world class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The Council distributes public money from the Government to support scientific research. Between 2007 and 2008 we invested GBP678 million.


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Specialty Scanners aims to play a leading role in the provision of MRI-guided diagnostic & treatment services to patients using the Company's dedicated, proprietary MR scanners in order to fight disease & improve patient's quality of life.

The business model of the Specialty Group is;

(a) to research and develop novel, 'specialty' (not 'general- purpose') intra-operative magnetic resonance (MR) scanners for use in the clinical management of cancer,

(b) to offer the Group's proprietary scanners to clinical service providers for 'outright purchase' and

(c) to set-up wholly or jointly owned and/or operated 'dedicated' Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (CATS) centres, such as Breast Cancer CATS using the Group's proprietary scanners.

The Group has developed the necessary technology and completed the construction of a novel, dedicated magnetic resonance (MR) scanner which provides an excellent platform for the performance of all three of the following clinical procedures in a seamless and integrated manner, under 'one-roof', potentially during a 'single out-patient session' [i.e. 'one-stop', dedicated Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (CATS) Centre scenario];

(1) Diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures, (2) Real-time MRI-guided Lesion Localisation & Biopsy procedures, and (3) Real-time MRI-guided Tumour Thermal Ablation procedures.

Enquiries: Specialty Scanners plc T: +44(0)20-8845-5648; Dr Ali Akgun, CEO E:; Technology Strategy Board T: +44(0)1793-442700 / M: +44(0)7824-599644; Nick Sheppard E:; Institute of Cancer Research T: +44(0)20-7153-5106; Louise Brown E:; Science & Technology Facilities Council T: +44(0)1235-445484; Natalie Bealing E:; Rivington Street Corporate Finance T: +44(0)20-7562-3389; Monisha Varadan E: