The MRI machine is housed in a 68,000-pound 18-wheel trailer on the edge of SKBRF “to make it easy for patients to access without entering the research facility itself, or coming near any monkeys” the SKBRF information states. However, it will take some time before people have access to the machine as patients.
The release reads, “The Foundation is… working to make the MRI machine available for human clinical use as soon as possible. Regulatory, technical and staffing issues must be addressed before the equipment will be operational for patients.”
Access to this machine would save patients significant costs, particularly those associated with travel and accommodation. SKBRF indicates that their service cost for use of the machine “will be comparable to those on other islands”, noting also that the Foundation is pursuing arrangements for the national health service to cover some of the patient costs.
The clinical component will be operated by St. Kitts Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Imaging Ltd (SKB MRI). The release indicates that when the machine is available for clinical uses, a public announcement will be made.
Meanwhile, the new MRI, along with a recently obtained Stealth Station S7 will be used for research studies with monkeys, including gene vectors and stem cells, and enable the Foundation to “undertake a new range of studies that could not be done without the two machines.
Foundation President Dr. Eugene Redmond said, “This new equipment is another contribution to making St. Kitts and Nevis a world center of research excellence.” He also thanked the Government for its continuing support.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most sophisticated methods for seeing into the body and can create an image of all types of tissues with significantly greater resolution than X-rays, which primarily visualize bones. MRI can define pathologies in the brain, internal organs, joints, muscles, and ligaments with great precision.
Imaging is not radioactive and is harmless to body tissues. The images are created by computer using powerful magnetic fields and radio waves. MRI is used for multiple research activities as well as to diagnose diseases ranging from brain cancer to knee injuries in people. Presently, residents of St. Kitts and Nevis have to travel to other islands, the U.S. or Europe for MRI diagnostic tests, SKBRF informed.