Title: Animal Imaging Core Recent advances in small animal imaging have substantially improved our ability to gain insights into disease progression without altering the biological systems. The small animal imaging facility at UNC currently houses nine major imaging equipments, including MRI (2), PET/CT (1), CT (1), SPECT (1), optical imaging (3), and ultrasound (1). In addition, skillful technical staff members to maintain and operate the imaging equipments and animal technicians to facilitate animal preparation for imaging and monitoring during imaging are available. Leveraging on these impressive resources, the small animal imaging (SAI) core aims to provide advanced imaging technology to facilitate the proposed projects. Specifically, two major imaging tasks will be carried out for the proposed projects, including to depict biodistribution of nanoparticles (Projects 1, 2, and 3) and to monitor and evaluate therapeutic efficacy of the proposed nanoparticles or treatment regimens (Projects 2, 3, and 4) using imaging methods. To accomplish the former task, both PET and optical imaging methods will be developed to more efficiently and accurately provide biodistribution information. For the latter task, four imaging modalities, including optical, CT, PET, and MRI will be used to monitor therapeutic efficacy. Finally, while the imaging capability in the small animal imaging facility is already impressive, our institution has committed additional funds to further augment the imaging program at UNC, including the establishment of an on-site cyclotron facility and the associated radiochemistry lab and the development of imaging registration approaches for multimodality imaging using microCT, MRI, and PET (Projects 2, 3 and 4). Together, we believe that the available technical expertise and well established infrastructure in the small animal imaging facility will greatly facilitate the success ofthe proposed projects.
The SAI core will provide novel non-invasive imaging approaches for determining bio-distribution of the proposed nanoparticles and monitoring disease progression and therapeutic efficacy. In addition, image analysis tools will be developed to provide quantitative measures of biological parameters.
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