Small animal models, particularly mice (Inbred, immunodeficient, otherwise genetically engineered), are increasingly recognized as powerful tools in cancer research. There has been a dramatic increase in interest in noninvasive imaging of small animal tumor models at Harvard and MIT over the past several years. The Center for Molecular Imaging Research (CMIR) at MGH has been a leader in small animal imaging technology development and has assisted a limited number of investigators with image acquisition and post processing. The interest in mouse imaging has far outgrown the availability of imaging equipment as well as the number of laboratory personnel. The proposed Small Animal Imaging Resource Program (SAIRP) at the MGH-CMIR, is organized to 1) implement new high resolution imaging capabilities for mice and rats, 2) perform technology development to further improve in vivo detection technology and 3) provide a forum for training in handling and imaging of small laboratory animals. These objectives were defined to bring the dedicated small animal imaging facility up to the state-of-the-art in order to increase its efficiency and accessibility for users in the New England area. The Resource currently serves 7 funded base grants, 4 pending grants and 3 developmental grants, from different institutions. Technology development will be directed towards optimizing and adapting new imaging technologies, validating new imaging approaches, and correlating structural and functional information. Some of the mechanisms to enhance synergy, interaction and wider spread usage of this resource include 1) an interactive website for on-line sign-up and access for data download, 2) monthly seminars in small animal imaging, 3) dissemination of resource availability through lectures and publications, 4) pilot grants to attract novel projects and new users and 5) creating a quarantine/holding facility to handle animals from other institutions. The overall goal of this application will be to provide a shared resource for the New England region open to cancer researchers and in particular the two local mouse model consortia to pursue their individual research interests. Significantly improving the capabilities and throughput of our imaging facilities will give more investigators access to these technologies and will provide a more diverse and dynamic exchange of techniques and ideas. This type of interaction is expected to foster productive interdisciplinary collaborations in cancer research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRRB-9 (M1))
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Croft, Barbara
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Massachusetts General Hospital
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