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What is MRI-PET?

An MRI-PET scanner combines images from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to provide a superior diagnostic picture of what is happening within the body in a single scan.

MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radiowaves to show detailed information on the organs, tissues and structures of the body. A PET scan measures important body functions such as blood flow, oxygen use and sugar metabolism, to evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning. It uses small doses of targeted radioactive chemicals called tracers that have been injected into the body.

Capturing anatomy and metabolic activity together enables us to see what is happening inside a diseased organ with unprecedented detail and whether it is responding to treatment.

The impact

Knowledge is our most powerful weapon and technologies such as these present us with incredible opportunities to fight disease on many fronts. This will be the first scanner of its type in Yorkshire, open to the University’s world-leading health and biomedical researchers as well as the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The MRI-PET scanner will transform our research by increasing our understanding of the causes, effects and development of disease. With this knowledge we will be able to take exciting discoveries from the laboratory into clinical trials to develop new therapies and better outcomes for patients. Breakthroughs in research will lead to easier and faster diagnosis, characterisation, staging and treatment of disease.

In the hospital, the new scanner will provide doctors with a more precise and accurate assessment of serious conditions leading to better treatments and monitoring of patients. Furthermore, radiation exposure is significantly reduced, saving approximately 100 chest x-rays worth of radiation compared to the next best technology. This dramatically improves patient safety, which is particularly important for children and young adults, and individuals requiring regular scans to monitor treatment.


Ground-breaking research needs ground-breaking facilities and that’s where people like us can make a difference. The campaign for an MRI-PET Facility in Sheffield is about investing in the forefront of imaging technology to provide insights into major diseases like cancer, dementia and MND that have never been possible before. I’m proud to support a project that will transform the way we treat these conditions in the future and save more lives.

Stephen Sly (LLB 1984)
Alumni Campaign Ambassador
Partner, DLA Piper


Disease areas

The MRI-PET scanner will be invaluable for many diseases, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious diseases
  • Lung diseases
  • Motor Neurone Disease (MND/ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke


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