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07 December 2022

Pioneering medical imaging centre uses AI to drive research and improve care

The £10.5million Mary Seacole MRI Centre is shared between Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, working with Siemens Healthineers.


A new world-class medical imaging centre at St Thomas’ Hospital incorporates the latest artificial intelligence technology with clinical MRI scanners to improve patient care and develop research breakthroughs.

The £10.5million Mary Seacole MRI Centre is shared between Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, working with Siemens Healthineers.

The Centre is dedicated to enabling new developments in artificial intelligence to be deployed in the NHS to benefit patient care. It is already providing advanced imaging techniques and technologies for scanning babies in the womb, diagnosing cancer, and the treatment of cardiovascular and neurological conditions in adults and babies. With these advanced techniques, clinicians can get new important information regarding the early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders and insights into underlying disease processes.

The new facility will enable an extra 7,000 patients a year to be scanned using the latest medical technology, reducing waiting lists. It will ultimately provide tailored imaging particular to each person’s clinical need.

The use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology means patients can be seen more quickly and the integrated approach will provide better support for clinical decision making, such as when to operate on a patient. The joint working of research and clinical teams in one centre will ensure that the latest advances quickly translate into patient benefit.

The Mary Seacole MRI Centre forms part of the strategy for St Thomas’ MedTech Hub, led by the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. St Thomas’ MedTech Hub will accelerate the translation of healthcare engineering research and improve provision of medical services to help deliver the best care to patients.

This new Centre includes the very latest imaging technology. Working with our long-standing partners at King’s College London, it will improve patients’ experiences at a vulnerable time and provide important research opportunities to further develop our understanding and treatment of many conditions.

Lawrence Tallon, Deputy Chief Executive, Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

The new centre includes two advanced scanners from Siemens Healthineers (a 1.5 Tesla (T) MAGNETOM Sola and a 3T MAGNETOM Vida), immediately adjacent to King’s College London’s Advanced MRI Centre, which provides a facility for researchers from leading research institutions in the capital to work together. This Advanced MRI Centre houses the UK’s first 0.55T MAGNETOM Free.Max, an ultra-high-field 7T MAGNETOM Terra and a second 3T MAGNETOM Vida, all from Siemens Healthineers.

Enabled with Deep Resolve - an AI-powered image reconstruction technology - the MAGNETOM Sola, MAGNETOM Vida and MAGNETOM Free.Max accelerate magnetic resonance (MR) scans which reduces the imaging time and enhances the quality of outcomes. These systems will be used for clinical and research purposes in an integrated way, and allow researchers and clinicians to expand the scope of the research portfolio in areas including cardiac, respiratory, and foetal brain development imaging.

The new units at Mary Seacole MRI Centre takes to 28 the total number of MRI units across the Trust and King’s College London. This will enable more than 60,000 people to have an MRI scan in the coming year, and more than 6,000 research scans to be undertaken each year.

With backing from the London Medical Imaging & AI Centre for Value Based Healthcare through a £16million DHSC grant by the Office for Life Sciences, and significant support from Siemens Healthineers, the Centre is set to pioneer an artificial intelligence in healthcare mission which will see researchers and clinicians actively working together on developments for patient benefit by exploring how to deploy AI at scale.

This new world-class MRI Centre - backed by government funding - will provide an extra 7,000 patients a year with potentially life-saving scans and diagnoses; delivering ground-breaking research into new treatments and cementing the UK’s status as a life sciences superpower. I want to harness this scientific brilliance. Our Life Sciences Vision puts this innovation at the heart of our health service, helping to solve major health challenges such as cancer and obesity and enabling the NHS to continue delivering world class care.

Minister of State for Health, Will Quince

King’s researchers are already running projects on fetal and cardiac imaging which will uncover underlying disease processes and provide information to help clinicians identify and diagnose problems much earlier.

The researchers aim to make imaging more effective and for the patient to end up with an assessment that is more valuable for them to manage their healthcare.

This is a unique co-location model that our School within King’s has built with one of the UK’s most research-active NHS Trusts and with Siemens Healthineers, a leader in medical technologies. This is how we are going to make a real difference to patients, not only here at St Thomas’ Hospital, but globally. Through our public-private partnerships, we have built a critical mass of research and clinical facilities to more quickly address acute patient needs and deliver innovation at pace.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin FREng, Head of School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, King’s College London

The Mary Seacole MRI Centre builds on the strong imaging partnership between Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College London and industry which serves patients from across London, the UK and beyond.

Earlier this year, Guy’s and St Thomas’ opened a new £50m diagnostic centre at Royal Brompton Hospital to increase diagnostic capabilities, reduce scanning times and improve overall patient experience.

We are proud to partner with King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ in delivering the Mary Seacole MRI Centre. The Centre, which houses a range of MRI systems from Siemens Healthineers, will accelerate and expand research opportunities and help push the boundaries of clinical innovation in patient care.

Ghada Trotabas, Managing Director of Siemens Healthineers Great Britain & Ireland

The name of the new MRI centre was chosen by patients and the public in honour of the pioneering nurse and businesswoman Mary Seacole, for whom there is a statue in St Thomas’ gardens nearby.  The centre echoes and celebrates Mary Seacole’s values of good citizenship, entrepreneurship and achievement. 

In this story

Sebastien Ourselin

Professor of Healthcare Engineering

Jo Hajnal

Professor of Imaging Science

Sharon Giles

Director of Clinical & Research Imaging Operations