Imaging small animal models of cancer has become an essential and integral part of cancer research. Evolving imaging technologies have also made available different but complementary imaging methods for assessing underlying biology and mechanisms, improving diagnosis and detection, and monitoring effects of cancer therapies. To take full advantage of this rapidly changing imaging landscape, and to provide a wider spectrum of imaging capabilities and services, a new Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource (iSAlRR) has been established, with substantial resources committed by the UCCCC and the institution, to offer a broad spectrum of imaging modalities and techniques for in vivo imaging of small animals and ex vivo imaging of tissue/organ specimens with improved cost effectiveness and operational efficiency. This new Core Facility includes the following four complementary subcores: 1) the formal Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRIS) Facility supported by the CCSG since 2002;2) the formal Optical Imaging Core Facility (OICF), a developing UCCCC core during the current cycle;3) a new microPET/SPECT/CT imaging facility;and 4) a reorganized Imaging Veterinary Technology support subcore (IVT) extracted from the formal MRIS Facility with an expanded mission of providing veterinary support to all animal imaging operations. The core leadership has been enhanced with new scientific co-directors and technical directors with expertise in molecular imaging. The MRIS replaced the old 4.7T magnet with a new 9.4T Bruker system and subsequently acquired additional gradient coils, amplifier, software upgrades to increase image resolution and usage efficiency. The OICF acquired a new Xenogen IVIS Spectrum system to be used outside the animal barrier, while placing the original Xenogen IVIS 200 system behind the barrier to expand the user access. The microPET/SPECT/CT imaging services and capabilities have been established with a Gamma Medica tri-modality pre-clinical imaging system. This new iSAIRR has already demonstrated its broad usage and applications in advancing research in breast, lung, prostate, ovarian, head and neck, pancreatic, colorectal, and brain cancer. Future expansion to enhance quantitative multi-modality imaging methodologies including those in ultrasound and EPRI (electron paramagnetic resonance imaging) will complement the existing MRIS, optical imaging, PET, SPECT, and CT services and capabilities.
This Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource provides a broad range of imaging services to support cancer researchers in using animal models to investigate cancer biology and to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics. These animal imaging services and capabilities will accelerate cancer research saving in time and resources, thus improving the effective delivery of health care.
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