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Siemens Medical Solutions is to build the next generation of its medical 3D imaging system on Intel's Xeon processor platform.

The workstations will deal with the heavy number crunching that Computer Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) systems need to reconstruct three dimensional images from X-ray or MRI scan data.

Volker Kaiser, general manager of Siemens Medical Solutions, says the technology will make a real difference in patient assessment.

"The system has a virtual endoscopy function that will improve cancer detection, especially colon cancer," he told The Register. The new workstations have much higher resolutions and will improve a doctor's ability to make a diagnosis, with exploratory surgery, he said. Also, They have faster data processing and better rendering, so doctors can make speedier and more accurate diagnoses.

Image of chest cavity produced by Siemens medical 3D systemTom Garrison, a spokesman for enterprise marketing at Intel, argues that healthcare is "a great example of a sector where IT innovation enables real benefits in terms of patient care and tools for preventive medicine", adding: "The introduction of 3D imaging can transform patient care and understanding of conditions".

Currently, Kaiser says, most images from CT or MR scans are produced in two dimensions: "There are some 3D systems, but they are in the minority. With this platform we think that 3D diagnostics could become standard."

Siemens will present the technology to the medical community at the Radiology Congress in Chicago this November, and expects to deliver the first units in March next year. Depending on the set up and contract size, the workstations will cost between €5,000 and €10,000 each. ®

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