Tuesday 5 December 2023

Work in an MRI Lab? 6 Things You Can't Go Without


MRI labs are nests of marvels of modern technology. These labs ensure that individuals diagnosed with various medical conditions get the best imaging tests to guide their treatments. As an MRI lab technician, you know the importance of having all the right tools to conduct accurate, detailed, and timely testing. There are specific tools that MRIs just can’t go without, which is what this article will delve into. Continue reading to discover the top six tools that every MRI lab needs to do its job effectively.


By Dixie Somers

MRI Holding Coils

Any MRI lab needs to have a wide selection of holding coils that provide the compatibility and comfort required for MRI scan patients. These high-quality coils are specifically designed to coil around different parts of the body to ensure accurate scan results. They can be specifically-shaped for the region to help minimize discomfort during the scan process. It's essential to procure these coils as they are central to providing unparalleled imaging quality.

To ensure the longevity of these important tools, it's crucial to properly maintain them. This includes regular cleaning and proper storage after use. Holding coils should be wiped down with a disinfectant solution to prevent the spread of bacteria between patients. It's also important to check for any signs of wear and tear, such as fraying or cracks, and replace them if necessary. Proper storage in a cool, dry place can also help prevent damage and prolong their lifespan.


Contrast Agents

Contrast Agents are essential to enhance the clarity and the contrast of the images produced during the scans. These agents are primarily used for MRI perfusion imaging, and it's essential to have them at all times. Contrast agents are typically Gadolinium. Fortunately, Gadolinium contrast agents are relatively safe and can be used successfully in most patients. Having these contrast agents readily available will ensure that more detailed and accurate results are produced.

Proper handling and administration of gadolinium is crucial to ensure the safety and effectiveness of MRI scans. Before using any contrast agent, it's important to carefully read the product instructions and follow them precisely. This includes checking for any allergies or pre-existing conditions that may contraindicate the use of gadolinium.


Skilled Technicians

Having skilled and knowledgeable technicians is an essential factor for any MRI lab. These professionals are responsible for operating the machines, preparing patients for scans, and ensuring accurate image acquisition. With proper training and experience, they can also troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise during the scan process.

MRI lab technicians should have a solid understanding of MRI physics, anatomy, patient care, and safety protocols. They should also be able to communicate effectively with patients, doctors, and other medical staff. Regular training and education are crucial for technicians to stay up-to-date with advancements in MRI technology and procedures.


Medical-Grade Computers

Every MRI lab should be equipped with medical-grade computers that are safe, secure, and reliable. These computers are essential as they have the ideal software and hardware required for running DICOM viewers and Image reconstruction applications. Additionally, these computers should consistently produce detailed 3D images and run on a 64-bit operating system. Investing in modern, high-quality computers guarantees that operations can run seamlessly and stress-free.

To ensure that medical-grade computers are functioning properly, regular maintenance and troubleshooting should be conducted. This includes checking for any software updates or hardware issues that may affect the performance of the computer. It's important to have a designated IT specialist who is well-versed in medical-grade computer systems to troubleshoot any technical problems that may arise.

Additionally, it's crucial to have backup systems in place to prevent any interruptions in operations. Having multiple computers or a backup server can help mitigate any potential downtime and ensure that the MRI lab can continue functioning smoothly.


Quality Materials

MRI labs can't go without procuring high-quality materials. These may include wires, cables, and other essential accessories used in the MRI machine. These materials should be reliable and durable, so that they last a long time while functioning optimally. Procuring high-quality materials ensures accurate, quality results, and less breakages that can be hassling to fix.

To ensure that the MRI lab is well-stocked with quality materials, it's crucial to have a proper inventory system in place. This can include keeping track of the usage and expiration dates of materials, as well as regularly restocking them when necessary. It's also important to only purchase materials from reputable suppliers and to properly store them in a dry, temperature-controlled environment.

Conducting regular audits and reviews of the inventory can also help identify any materials that need to be replaced or restocked. By staying on top of materials management, the MRI lab can ensure that it always has high-quality materials available for use.  Overall, having a well-stocked inventory helps keep operations running smoothly and efficiently in an MRI lab.


Patient Comfort Tools

In addition to the essential tools and equipment mentioned above, it's also important for an MRI lab to have patient comfort tools. These may include items such as earplugs, blankets, an MRI Wheelchair, and headphones that can help make the scan experience more comfortable for patients.

Since MRI scans can be lengthy and somewhat intimidating for some patients, providing these comfort tools can help alleviate any anxiety or discomfort. Not only does this promote a more positive patient experience, but it also helps ensure that the images captured are of the highest quality as patients will be less likely to move or fidget during the scan.

As an MRI lab technician, you have a significant responsibility to ensure that the MRI lab is well-equipped to deliver accurate results. Procuring all the necessary tools mentioned above is central to running a well-functioning MRI lab. Ensuring that MRI labs have all these tools on hand will enable accurate diagnoses that restore people's health successfully.


Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

Thursday 30 November 2023

Microbiology News: Antimicrobials and mother’s microbiome




There is much of interest in the world of microbiology, with new areas to explore emerging in recent years, including the importance of the microbiome in affecting health and disease (that is the microorganisms and genetic interactions within a given niche) and with the continued rise in cases of antimicrobial resistance, which presents a major risk to the health of humanity. We explore stories relating to both of these areas, together with news relating to some of the earliest recorded cases of parasitic infection.


Bacterial resistance to two critical antibiotics widespread in Southeast Asia


Resistance to two critical antibiotic types, one a “drug of last resort” when all others fail against some “superbugs,” have been shown to be widely distributed in Southeast Asia, raising the risk of untreatable infections, say a team of investigators led by Georgetown University Medical Center. The picture the data paints is of a serious emerging public health threat.

The research has been published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, with the research paper titled “Carbapenem and Colistin Resistance in Enterobacteriaceae in Southeast Asia: Review and Mapping of Emerging and Overlapping Challenges.”


Ancient feces reveal how ‘marsh diet’ left Bronze Age Fen folk infected with parasites


New research shows how the prehistoric inhabitants of a settlement in the freshwater marshes of eastern England were infected by intestinal worms caught from foraging for food in the lakes and waterways around their homes. Preserved in the surrounding mud were waterlogged “coprolites” — pieces of human faeces. By uisng microscopy techniques to detect ancient parasite eggs within the faeces and surrounding sediment, the researchers found the earliest evidence for fish tapeworm and giant kidney worm in Britain. This was the result of dumping of excrement into the freshwater channel.


These findings are published in the journal Parasitology (“Intestinal parasites at the Late Bronze Age settlement of Must Farm, in the fens of East Anglia, UK (9th century B.C.E.)”).


Mode of delivery at birth may play key role in shaping the child’s skin microbiome


The maturation of skin microbial communities during childhood impacts on the skin health of children and development of the immune system into adulthood, based on a new study examining the microbiota in young children. Here investigators in China discovered that bacterial genera in children were more similar to those of their own mothers than to those of unrelated women. These data suggest that the mode of delivery at birth could be an important factor in shaping the child’s microbiome.


This study has been reported to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, with the research paper headed “Age and Mothers: Potent Influences of Children’s Skin Microbiota.”

 Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

Sunday 19 November 2023

The Booming Biopharmaceuticals: How Contract Companies Respond


In response to our industry's large carbon footprint1, an increasing number of organizations have made maximizing sustainability a top priority for their operations. Encouraged by efforts such as the EU's "Green Deal," many businesses are actively embracing an environmental conscience and exploring innovative methods to reconcile economic performance, social responsibility, and environmental effect.


By Richard Parkersic


As the volume and ambition of these commitments expand, supply chain partners will see this trend mirrored in RFPs. Biopharmaceutical businesses are increasingly looking for collaborations that help them achieve both their commercial and sustainability goals, whether it's through eco-friendly package design, carbon-neutral production facilities, or less resource-intensive operations.


This tendency will be especially important for manufacturers. CDMOs will not only need to figure out how to successfully map new client needs.




Biopharma, which has long been a technology behind, has now begun a delayed, pandemic-fueled digitalization sprint. Countless organizations have rushed in the last two years to virtualize their workforce, move their teamwork to the cloud, and use technology to keep their operations operating while keeping their people safe.


Service providers are no exception, and they show no indications of slowing down their fast digitization. AI and machine learning-powered industrial solutions are gaining traction, with automation and robots driving considerable improvements in supply chain productivity. Expect further investment in devices like these while pandemic concern persists.


Strategic Partnerships

Another long-standing impediment is the ever-increasing expense of bringing new medications to market. Biopharma businesses will continue to strive to reduce the "total cost of ownership" involved with developing, producing, and commercializing their medications this year. This will result in a greater emphasis on not just the function but also the value of outsourced collaborations.



As astute service providers have realized, biopharma businesses seek third-party specialists who do more than fill a skill gap or allow an in-house team to focus on key skills. Customers are increasingly searching for suppliers that can provide a strategic, value-added combination of specialized services, customized solutions, and efficient operations throughout as much of the value chain as feasible.


In response, CDMOs aggressively seek new collaborations, particularly between producers with complementary expertise or complementary skill sets. Several high-profile CDMO partnerships have lately formed, with the purpose of synchronizing knowledge in ways that reduce time-to-market, expedite technical advancements, and provide considerable long-term value to consumers.


Integrated Services

One significant trend we notice is that pharma innovators are increasingly collaborating on an integrated basis with their CDMO. Initially, CDMOs were largely focused on early-stage development, assisting customers in obtaining an investigational new drug (IND) application. Integrated CDMOs, such as Piramal Pharma Solutions (PPS), now help firms across the whole development process, including late stage and commercial programmes.



This trend is being driven by a number of causes. Integration offers intrinsic advantages in terms of market speed and cost efficiency. It is easier to transfer technology within a single organization. Similarly, many project parts can be managed by a single, key point of contact for project management. Supply chain integration, with synchronized material, provides further benefits.


The Supply Chain and the Pandemic


Everyone has seen how the epidemic has disrupted global supply chains over the last two years. The pharmaceutical supply chain is especially complicated—possibly the most complex of any sector. Specialization is a big element; our supply chain is extensive, worldwide, and includes high-demand minerals. There is a global movement towards rethinking the global supply chain, which includes reshoring, increasing supplier redundancy, rethinking logistics, and upgrading systems and procedures to guarantee that supplies are easily accessible.




PPS tackled the issue head-on through its supply chain risk mitigation team. They tried to categorize and prioritize the raw materials we use, categorizing them according to whether they were utilized in novel or commercial goods and rating them according to particular risk factors. The risk criteria included information such as a product's commercial potential, manufacturing location, whether it was sourced from a single source, present availability, dependency on China, and procurement value. The team suggested unique risk mitigation techniques based on the scope and type of the dangers associated with a raw material in order to achieve rapid, efficient, effective, and long-term outcomes.


Supplying Advanced Therapeutics Demand

Because of the rapid rise of new modalities like cell and gene therapy, many corporations are foregoing costly efforts to establish internal production capabilities. Instead, they are looking for partners that can supply the advanced manufacturing practices, technical expertise, and technology required across all modalities to get medicines closer to commercialization.


In these sectors, innovation and knowledge have grown rapidly, and there is an urgent demand for development and production partners that can solve obstacles quickly. These issues include scaling up robust processes, optimizing analytical techniques, increasing yields, and integrating upstream and downstream processing with raw material supply chains to boost efficiency.


CDMOs are also an important element of the manufacturing supply chain for new medicines, therefore they must guarantee that sufficient capacity is available to innovators to fulfill demand. As a result, researchers are being forced to seek out collaborative partners early in the development process to guarantee capacity is accessible when needed.


Model of Virtual Pharma Business

Smaller biotechs, defined as firms with revenues of less than $250 million or listed companies with a market valuation of less than $2.5 billion, are driving much of the innovation in biopharma pipelines. There are over 5,500 of these businesses, and we anticipate that by 2026, they will contribute more than 60% of biopharma growth while having little or no in-house scale-up capabilities. These companies are looking to partner with CDMOs through a "virtual pharmaceutical" business model that allows them to simplify and accelerate development, hit milestones, and retain ownership without investing significant capital in infrastructure.


These smaller businesses frequently have insufficient in-house resources to maintain CDMO relationships.


Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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