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To Russia with love – researchers receive MRI scanner from Cancer Research UK

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by Cancer Research UK | News

27 April 2002

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A team of scientists in Russia are to receive their first research MRI scanner, thanks to Cancer Research UK.

The scanner was originally purchased by the charity for use at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. For almost 20 years, Cancer Research UK’s Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Research (BMRR) Group has been using the equipment to carry out world class research.

The last project in which the scanner was used, a couple of months ago, involved measuring oxygen levels continuously throughout the development of a tumour – something never achieved before.

The scanner is being replaced by a new model, so the team at St. George’s Hospital Medical School decided to donate the original scanner to Professor Akhat Il’yasov at Kazan University in Tartastan (an independent republic within the Russian Federation, on the River Volga, about 600 miles southeast of Moscow).

Professor John Griffiths, who leads the BMRR group, says: “I understand that this scanner will be the only one of its kind being used for biomedical research in the entire Russian Federation. Professor Il’yasov is an excellent scientist trying to carry out vital work in very difficult conditions. As a team, we are very fortunate to be in a position where we can afford to buy a new scanner. We really wanted our older scanner to go to a team of researchers who, otherwise, would never have access to it. I think it will have a long and productive life at Kazan University and will do important work on cancer.”

The scanner, which cost £120,000 in 1983 and has been upgraded several times, has been shipped out to Kazan this week. The President of Tartastan has paid for the shipping of the scanner and for an engineer from the UK to travel out to the region to set it up.

Sir Paul Nurse, Acting Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, says: “Cancer is a disease which affects people in every country across the world so it’s great to be able to help the researchers in Kazan in this way.

We need to take a global approach in sharing knowledge and, where possible, resources to bring about the best treatments and to find cures. I hope the scanner will be of as much benefit to them as it has been to our researchers.”