GE Healthcare recently showcased the SIGNATM Premier, an FDA 510(k)-pending, wide bore 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, at the 25th International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) annual meeting in Honolulu.

SIGNA Premier is the result of a 4-year collaboration with the NFL and research institutions around the world working to design new imaging tools. The system delivers research-focused clinical capabilities designed particularly for neurological and oncology research and clinical work.

“The image quality we have seen to date from the SIGNA Premier is excellent and very consistent,” says Scott Reeder, MD, PhD, vice chair of research and chief of MRI at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of GE Healthcare’s top collaborators, is testing a research system of SIGNA Premier and has scanned approximately 100 subjects to date. “The high-fidelity gradients and RF systems of a scanner are key to obtaining high-quality, repeatable, and reproducible quantitative measurements; this is increasingly important as we move from qualitative to quantitative imaging.”

The unit has the potential to outperform other ultra-high-performance systems with smaller bore sizes, particularly for diffusion-weighted applications, according to Reeder. “I believe the wide bore is going to improve access and comfort for patients at our hospital,” he continues. “We have also been able to improve the spatial resolution with very similar SNR performance as other ultra-high-performance systems.”

This system is built on a platform with: a short-bore, high-homogeneity magnet; powerful new gradients; a new digital RF transmit and receive architecture; and such applications as cloud analytics. SIGNA Premier is powered by SuperG gradient technology to improve diagnostic confidence for clinicians.

The RF technology of SIGNA Premier is designed to provide greater clinical performance and higher overall image quality especially for data-intensive applications, based on GE’s Total Digital Imaging (TDI) architecture. A total of 146 independent channels allow the simultaneous combination of multiple ultra-high channel count surface coils for faster accelerations and uncompromised image clarity.

According to GE, the TDI 48-channel head coil’s fit- adaptable design addresses 99.99% of the population—including extremely large heads and short necks—while preserving high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and outstanding and sustainable image quality.

SIGNA Premier is based on the SIGNAWorks productivity platform, which is designed to improve productivity for radiologists and technologists. SIGNA Premier supports eight times faster productivity with HyperWorks, a new speed scanning tool. SIGNAWorks takes full advantage of the SuperG gradient technology and the TDI RF architecture to further advance and accelerate diagnostic outcomes, with signature applications such as MAGiC, HyperBand and HyperSense, while simultaneously improving patient throughput and ROI for clinicians.

Further, the system runs on GE Healthcare’s Orchestra reconstruction platform, now available through the company’s collaboration portal to allow researchers to compose their own reconstruction algorithms that can be easily integrated with the data acquisition on the scanner. Orchestra gives users the flexibility and potential to use the power of SIGNA Premier in new and innovative research.

“We are thrilled with the feedback SIGNA Premier has received from leading academic radiologists who have evaluated its performance,” says Eric Stahre, president and CEO of GE Healthcare MRI. “Our engineers designed this system to help clinicians and researchers push the boundaries of MRI, with advanced applications and industry-leading innovations. It’s designed to deliver connectome performance with wide-bore patient comfort. We look forward to bringing SIGNA Premier to our collaborators around the world.”