The importance of imaging small animals in basic and translational biomedical research, with such modalities as PET, SPECT, CT, optical, ultrasound and MRI, cannot be overemphasized. The ability to image small animals without having to sacrifice a large number of them allows investigators to a) validate novel probes for diagnosis and therapy, b) conduct pharmacokinetic studies in vivo, c) evaluate investigational bio- molecules for prevention and treatment of diseases, and d) determine the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. Small animal imaging reduces the number of animals to be enrolled in each investigation, controls cost, and provides valuable, scientifically valid data that can be evaluated statistically. At TJU, more than three hundred basic and physician scientists are engaged in biomedical research in oncology, neurology and cardiology. In 2004, TJU established a small animal imaging facility that is directed by the PI (Mathew L. Thakur, PhD), in the Department of Radiology. The facility includes a CT, PET/SPECT, a PET scanner and an optical imaging device. This facility has thus far been used by thirty-seven investigators and produced sixty four articles in peer-reviewed journals. CT is an integral part of PET/SPECT imaging. The four-year-old MicroCAT II CT we are currently using breaks down frequently. Even worse, Siemens service is not available as of January 1, 2012 (letter dated August 1, 2011). Our SPECT equipment is a modified Philips MOSAIC PET unit that suffers from poor resolution and presents numerous technical challenges for its operation in the SPECT mode. The availability of the Siemens SPECT/CT unit that can dock to our existing Siemens Inveon PET will provide us with a highly versatile, integrated, tri-modal imaging system that shall greatly enhance our imaging capability and serve for several federally funded translational and basic research projects at TJU. No such system currently exists at TJU. (1)
Translational biomedical research, in which discoveries worthy of management of diseases are made, depends heavily upon molecular imaging of small laboratory animals. At Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), we established a small animal imaging facility in 2004 that has served thirty-seven investigators on the campus and has remained highly productive. The purpose of this proposal is to replace, i) an outdated and unserviced MicroCAT II (former ImTek Inc.) CT scanner and ii) a Philips MOSAIC PET scanner that was carefully modified to serve as a SPECT scanner but has not functioned satisfactorily. The proposed Siemens SPECT/CT unit will dock with our existing Inveon PET (Siemens) and will provide us with a highly versatile, integrated, hybrid imaging system that will greatly enhance our imaging capability at Thomas Jefferson University.