The broad, long-term objective of this proposal is to better understand the fundamental biology that underlies human diseases, and to improve diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, acute lung injury, orthopedic defects and rheumatoid arthritis. There is currently no preclinical in vivo radionuclide imaging or CT capability at Northwestern University. Funds are requested for the purchase of a preclinical SPECT/CT scanner dedicated to small animal imaging studies. The scanner will play a vital role in supporting basic and preclinical research activities from multipl NIH-funded Program Projects (PPGs) and Investigator-Initiated Projects at Northwestern University. The imaging capabilities offered by the scanner will enable measurements that are otherwise difficult or impossible to obtain using alternative methods. The scanner will help bring studies from a molecular/cellular level to a system level, and provide preclinical validations for clinical translation. The availability of this scanner will also foster new collaborations and spur imaging technology development. The strengths of radionuclide imaging include sensitivity, quantifiable data, and depth of signal penetration in tissues. These features make it suitable for studying molecular events at physiologically relevant levels. Radionuclide imaging utilities that will benefit current research projects include advanced molecular imaging, biomarker development, tracer kinetics, dosimetry, and functional imaging. The CT module provides anatomical information for assisting data analysis in radionuclide imaging studies. As a stand-alone imaging technique, CT is an indispensable tool for characterizing hard tissues and other X-ray-opaque materials in terms of morphometric measurements. Overall, techniques offered by the preclinical SPECT/CT scanner will enable quantitative, noninvasive and longitudinal measurements that address the technological needs and enhance the advancements of a wide range of biomedical research projects. To accommodate this instrument, the University has made concrete commitments in terms of financial support, imaging expertise, management team, operational staff and infrastructure. The scanner will become an important component at the existing multimodality imaging core facility at Northwestern University.
The requested preclinical SPECT/CT scanner will play a major role in basic and translational research by enabling noninvasive measurements that will lead to better understanding and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, bone diseases, reproductive disorders, and acute lung injury. These studies will help validate diagnostics and therapeutics for clinical translation.