META-scan is a new 7T MRI system, specifically designed for metabolic imaging to gain information on, for example, muscle physiology, state of cartilage, glucose metabolism, and the response to chemotherapy. The system will be able to perform MRI experiments by observing five different nuclei in one scan session: 1H, 19F, 31P, 23Na, and 13C. For this purpose, technologies and experiences from clinical field strengths (1.5 T and 3 T) are being reused in this system, such as a built-in RF body coil, and RF receiver arrays for the frequencies of 31P, 23Na, and 13C, and high power technologies. These will be combined with a state-of-the-art parallel transmit system for the frequencies of 19F and 1H.

The META-scan project is a collaboration between five University medical centers (Amsterdam UMC, Radboud UMC, UMC Utrecht, UMC Groningen, and Leiden UMC) and three industrial partners (Philips Healthcare, Tesla Engineering Ltd., and MR Coils bv.) and receives funding from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The project started in 2016 and the system is currently being installed at the UMC Utrecht.


The UMC Utrecht coordinates the international consortium of the EU-funded NICI project, that aims to lay the foundations of a new area of research: the study of human biology using non-invasive chemistry imaging. The project unites the two research areas of metabolomics and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Through advancing MRI and discovering new MRI-visible biomarkers, it will be possible to develop a new non-invasive technology to dynamically map and understand biochemical processes in the human body.

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The highfield group at the UMCU was initiated in Dec 2007 at the same time a high field (7 tesla) MRI system was installed. Studies have revealed and still revealing new information obtained non-invasively from patients, healthy volunteers and preclinical models all aiming to understand human biology at highest precision.

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The METAscan-concept was initiated by a Dutch consortium and since Feb 2016 partially funded by NWO. The METAscan concept incorporates a quintuple tuned setup integrated in a whole body 7 tesla MRI system that facilitates imaging of the nuclei 1H, 19F, 31P, 23Na and 13C thereby enabling imaging of metabolism in the human body.

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