Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Auckland MRI Research Group Core Laboratory


AMRG has extensive experience as a Core Lab in the management, performance and analysis of large scale clinical trials, involving many centres worldwide.

We are currently performing national and international clinical trials for multinational pharmaceutical companies investigating new drug treatments for heart disease and cancer. These trials total in excess of 1500 MRI studies.

Recent pharmaceutical trials include:

As a Core Lab we ensure the effective organisation of a research trial from study design to publication. We offer a full range of Core Lab services from protocol definition to standard operating procedures. Further details below:

Consulting and study design

Dr's Cowan and Young have considerable knowledge in both MRI and Cardiology and the inclusion of these specialties in Research Trials. They have papers published in many respected journals and publications.

Site visits and accreditation

It is essential when choosing MRI sites for a study, that the PI is assured of their quality of work, knowledge and ability to undertake the task entrusted to them. Our experienced staff can visit sites to assess their ability and if necessary, train them in the trial protocol. Each site is documented and accredited.

Data transfer

Images can be sent to the core lab via our secure ftp site or by mail in the form of CDROM or DVD.  Once images have been received they are documented and loaded. If the images arrive in hard copy form, they are stored in a fire proof safe and duplicates are routinely created and sent off site. All computer systems are also backed up daily for additional data safety.

See image transfer for further information on our ftp site.

Standard operating procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) ensure all work is carried out to the same high standard each time it is performed. Procedures help to define tasks and ensure a documentation framework is in place for the accurate recording of study details. Our procedures cover tasks such as data transfer, scan quality, analysis, database management, storage methods and reporting of results.

Quality assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) reports ensure complete and accurate data has been acquired prior to analysis. They identify potential problems with regards to incomplete or incorrect information on scan files and/or log sheets. Combined with clear protocols, site visits and accreditation, this has resulted in failure due to poor data quality of less then 1%, in our largest international trial to date.


Analysis is carried out in duplicate when appropriate, by separate (blinded) analysts and their results are then reconciled. Where the difference exceeds a pre-determined margin, both analyses are repeated blinded to the previous results. A subset of cases from the database are repeated every 10 working days to ensure drift does not occur. Our cutting edge analysis software enables our staff to quickly and accurately analyze large numbers of MR images to obtain clinically relevant and important parameters such as cardiac mass, volume and ejection fraction. Learn more about the MRI analysis.

Database management

Our extensive and sophisticated database for managing and storing large amounts of endpoint data is well established.