French Radiologists Join Forces to Reduce MRI Scan Time with the Vantage Galan 3T

An original alliance using Canon MRI scanners in France has given birth to a new set of sequences to explore the human brain with 3T MRI in just six minutes. This unique collaboration between researchers and clinicians may help tackle MRI access issues in daily practice and could be extended to other clinical applications to improve patient care, two renowned experts told VISIONS.
VISIONS spoke with Dr. Jean-Christophe Sananes, President of GIE R2 Gironde and Pr. Vincent Dousset, Director of IBIO
GIE R2 Gironde, Bordeaux, France.

A pioneering cooperation in France

When the finest clinicians and researchers work together with the same breathtaking equipment, great things can happen.

GIE R2 Gironde, a company that utilizes the expertise of more than 180 radiologists, and IBIO, a prestigious research institute in the Bordeaux region, have known each other for a long time. They have also both recently installed the Vantage Galan 3T MRI scanner. When IBIO researchers started to develop new sequences with the equipment, they opened a new path for the two entities to cooperate more closely, according to GIE R2 Gironde President Dr. Jean-Christophe Sananes.
GIE R2 Gironde, Bordeaux, France.
“In daily clinical routine, we need fast sequences that use AI and denoising techniques,” he said. “We were very interested in those sequences that IBIO had been working on.”

In late 2020, the organizations decided to join forces to apply the sequences developed by IBIO in clinical practice, to help expedite diagnosis and follow-up of patients with MRI. Through the Bordeaux University Foundation, a PhD candidate was hired to help implement this work in daily practice in order to bring optimal benefit to patients.

Canon’s Vantage Galan 3T scanner combines some of the most powerful gradients in the world with game changing image improvement techniques such as the Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE) software, an AI-based solution that identifies and removes noise from images. With this cutting-edge equipment, IBIO managed to create incredibly fast sequences to boost MRI and spread its use in clinical practice. But these kinds of advances need help to make it into the daily routine setting, IBIO Director Prof. Vincent Dousset explained.
“One of the main questions that researchers are confronted with is how to develop sequences that can be translated into clinical daily practice,” he said. “That’s why we chose to collaborate with GIE R2 Gironde, whom we’ve known for a long time and totally trust, to test the sequences.”

Bringing research and clinical practice under one roof is somehow atypical in France, but the approach is starting to pay off. GIE R2 Gironde and IBIO are about to present results that could help shorten and harmonize MRI examinations of patients with brain disease.

“We've developed a large set of very short sequences with high resolution that can be applied to screening most brain diseases as a routine protocol. It’s called the Welcome Pack and it enables to expedite and standardize MRI examinations of the whole brain,” Prof. Dousset said.
Canon's Vantage Galan at the GIE R2 Gironde.

"One of the main questions is how to develop sequences that can be translated into clinical daily practice" "That's why we chose to collaborate with GIE R2 Gironde, whom we've known for a long time, to test the sequences."

Prof. Vincent Dousset, Director of IBIO,
Research institute in the Bordeaux region, France.

The Welcome Pack1: a new tool to help radiologists using MRI

Working in a timely fashion is the radiologist’s dilemma when scanning with MRI. “We need to standardize MRI examinations and perform them in a short time, as we do with CT,” he said. “We thought of which basic sequences would be necessary to perform MRI exploration of the brain as easily as CT, in order not to miss anything and go fast.”

With Canon’s help, Prof. Dousset and his team condensed six basic sequences - a T1, T2, FLAIR, TOF, T2* and diffusion - into the same rapid MRI examination to scan all of the brain pathologies.
The goal was to reduce scan time and the team worked on refining every possible sequence technique. “We also drew on other techniques, such as the Fourier transform, and everything we had at hand to optimize sequences. We also applied the AiCE innovative solution available on the Vantage Galan 3T to remove noise from the images.”
Dr. Sananes at the GIE R2 Gironde.
The outcome is a significant gain in time, offering the ability to scan patients in just five minutes in 2D1 and six minutes in 3D2. Because all the basic sequences have been included in the combination, patients do not have to be scanned again in the case someone else reads the study later.

“The effect is doubled. We can examine patients very rapidly and if there’s an additional reading, there’s no need to recall patients,” Prof. Dousset said.

The experience in daily practice has impressed Dr. Sananes. “We’ve been using the Welcome Pack on our Vantage Galan 3T for three months and we’re extremely surprised and happy to obtain all the information about the brain in just six minutes,” he said. “We’ve run tests and use it more and more often. The machine offers very high quality and optimized images. The Welcome Pack brings us a very interesting rapidity without degrading image quality.”

Such fast sequences may well enable to design and implement new workflows that shorten MRI waiting times and improve MRI access for both clinicians and patients, Dr. Sananes suggested.

“The solution is very innovative and answers a very strong demand from clinicians who are refrained in their diagnosis by waiting times or the difficulty of obtaining MRI exams. Thanks to those fast sequences, we could unleash MRI’s potential to answer clinicians’ needs and improve care, notably for semi-urgent patients,” he said.

For Prof. Dousset, being able to test his team’s research in the clinical setting may pave the way for other interesting projects using fast acquisition and image denoising techniques. “Hopefully we can prove the efficiency of such techniques over already established ones with this project, and look forward to more initiatives in the future,” he said.

"The solution is very innovative and answers a very strong demand from clinicians. Thanks to those fast sequences, we could unleash MRI's potential to answer clinicians' needs and improve care, notably for semi-urgent patients."

Dr. Jean-Christophe Sananes, GIE R2 Gironde President

Potential future applications

Besides brain imaging, a number of applications could benefit from IBIO’s fast sequences, including neck and MSK pathologies.

Dr. Sananes would also like to take the Welcome Pack down to the pelvis and the abdomen. “This is a delicate region to image with 3T because of artifacts that are triggered by movement. AI’s role is to get rid of those artifacts. Prostate MRI is all set to take off with AI-boosted MRI,” he said.

Research is all about pushing the frontiers. MRI already enables the ability to do functional imaging, but advances must be made to improve image quality, Prof. Dousset said. “The prostate, spinal cord and other organs and regions remain complicated to access. There’s also a lot of work to be done to image the pituitary gland and vessel wall pathologies, which are quite frequent. Image quality needs to be improved to properly visualize atherosclerosis or aneurysm risk.”
Patrice Coudray (Canon Medical), Bruno Triare (Canon Medical), Dr. Sananes, Professor Dousset.
With Canon Medical Systems’ unmatched support, radiologists have a strong ally to accompany their endeavors.

“Our cooperation with Canon Medical Systems scientists has been extremely positive in our collaboration with IBIO. It’s rare and brings real advances,” Dr. Sananes said.

“We’ve received excellent technical support from Canon. We have a shared vision of research that enables us to go further and push this idea that transcends the usual French public-private scheme, to develop techniques that improve patient care,” Prof. Dousset concluded. //

1 Welcome Pack: a standardized brain MR examination with six sequences in less than 5 minutes. Vincent Dousset, M.D., Ph.D. (PU-PH) Director of IBIO University of Bordeaux and University Hospital of Bordeaux;
2 3D Welcome Pack with Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE): a standardized 3D brain MR examination with 6 sequences in 6minutes. Vincent Dousset, M.D., Ph.D. (PU-PH) Director of IBIO University of Bordeaux and University Hospital of Bordeaux;

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