A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

Small Animal Imaging Core

Small Animal Imaging Core
The Small Animal Imaging Core (SAIC) is directed by Dr. David Colcher and staffed by Dr. James Bading (Imaging Physicist) and Desiree Crow (Core Manager).
 
Preliminary testing in laboratory animals has long had an essential role in the development of new pharmaceuticals and methods for treating human disease. The current development of sophisticated transgenic animal models as well as a growing recognition of the importance of understanding disease processes in the context of the living host has extended the use of animal experimentation beyond safety and efficacy testing into the realm of mechanistic investigation. Non-invasive imaging makes it possible to perform multiple measurements over time in the same animal, thereby enhancing data quality in studies of dynamic molecular and physiologic processes as well as greatly reducing the number of animals required for such studies.
 
During the last several years, scanners for small animals have become commercially available for all of the established modalities of medical imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI, SPECT, PET, ultrasound), as well as for optical imaging. With this technology, the dynamic biodistribution of therapeutic agents as well as vital processes such as gene expression, cell trafficking, cell viability, cell proliferation, tissue hypoxia and angiogenesis can be monitored non-invasively in the intact animal.
 
Small animal imaging has become indispensable to medical research and development and helps the investigator remain competitive for extramural funding.
 
Services
  • Providing consultation to investigators regarding the design, performance and analysis of animal imaging experiments
 
  • Ensuring proper maintenance and calibration of the equipment assigned to the laboratory
 
  • Operating the equipment assigned to the Laboratory or, where appropriate (e.g. for optical imaging equipment), training investigators or their technicians to operate the equipment
 
  • Handling, administering, surveying, tracking and disposing of radioactive materials used in imaging experiments
 
  • Ensuring that all experiments conducted within the Laboratory are performed according to approved protocols
 
Research reported in this publication included work performed in the Small Animal Imaging Core supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number P30CA33572. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Equipment

The SAIC currently supports radionuclear, X-ray and fluorescence optical bioluminescence imaging in small animals. Imaging systems in hand include:
 
  • 2 units for optical bioluminescence (IVIS 100, Caliper)
  • 1 unit for fluorescence imaging (IUIS 100, Caliper)
  • 1 gamma camera (g IMAGER; Biospace, Inc.)
  • 1 PET scanner (microPET R4; Siemens)
  • 1 CT scanner (microCAT II Hi-Res; Siemens)
 
The microPET and microCAT are readily used in tandem to generate coregistered functional-anatomic PET/CT images. The Imaging Laboratory is also equipped with a gamma counter (Wallac Wizard 3”; Perkin-Elmer, Inc.).
 
Functional Imaging studies are conducted using a dedicated small animal gamma camera and the microPET system. Engineered antibody constructs (as well as other proteins and peptides) are being labeled with radioiodine (123I/124I) or radiometals (111In/64Cu). Planar imaging studies are being performed using125I- and123I-labeled antibody constructs and/or111In conjugated to the antibody construct using an appropriate chelate linker. The positron emission tomography (PET) studies use124I-labeled antibody constructs as well as64Cu?conjugated to the antibody construct using an appropriate chelate linker (e.g. DOTA), or18F-labeled deoxyglucose or other commercially available compounds labeled with short-lived positron-emitting radioisotopes. Labeled constructs are evaluated in biodistribution and tumor uptake studies in murine xenograft models.
 
Xenogen Biophotonic Imaging Systems
The Xenogen IVIS 100 is a non-invasive, real-time system forin vivoimaging of bioluminescence and fluorescence. In this context, bioluminescence results from enzyme-mediated chemical reactions involving injected substrates. The most commonly used enzyme/substrate combination is luciferase/luciferin. The luciferase gene is incorporated into cells so as to be constitutively (i.e., continuously) expressed for monitoring cellular growth and anatomic location. Alternatively, luciferase may be placed under the control of a promoter of interest and used as a reporter gene. When the animal is injected with luciferin, the luciferase in the cells (e.g. hematopoietic stem cells, tumor, or engineered T-cells) activates the luciferin resulting in the emission of light. Xenogen’s cooled charge-coupled device (CCD) camera system captures the resulting image and allows quantitative analysis of the acquired emissions. These images can be used to monitor cellular activity and track gene expression, the spread of a disease, and the effects of new therapeutics.
   
BiospacegIMAGER
ThegIMAGER is a high-resolution planar scintigraphic camera that combines a customized single 120 mm diameter, 4 mm thick CsI scintillation crystal with a position-sensitive photomultiplier tube to provide to a circular 100 mm diameter field of view. The thickness and composition of the crystal were optimized for use with111In. ThegIMAGER can be used with any of a series of parallel hole collimators designed for the gamma ray emissions of various radioisotopes as well as for various combinations of sensitivity and resolution. We have a collimator designed specifically for imaging mice injected with111In.
   
Small Animal PET Scanner (microPET R4)
The small animal PET scanner (microPET R4) provides fully 3-dimensional PET imaging with spatial resolution of better than 2.0 mm and quantitative accuracy for measurement of tissue activity concentration on the order of 10%. The scanner employs rings of contiguous discrete detectors. The 8 cm axial field of view is adequate for simultaneous whole body imaging of mice. Advanced image reconstruction software is available that provides resolution approaching 1.0 mm. Quantitative accuracy is supported by scatter, dead time and measured attenuation corrections. The system is controlled by a PC running under WINDOWS XT. It includes a fully developed image analysis package that supports volumetric regions of interest and fusion of PET with coregistered anatomic CT or MRI. The microPET system is a powerful instrument for studying thein vivopharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and efficacy of novel therapeutic agents.
   
Small-animal CT Scanner (microCAT II Ultra Hi-Res)
The new small-animal CT scanner (microCAT II Ultra Hi-Res) features a continuously tunable source that can provide x-ray peak energies from 20 to 130 kV and spatial resolution ranging from 100 mm down to 15 mm. The scanner is completely self-shielded. Its detector (phosphor screen coupled through a fiber optic light pipe to a CCD chip) is large enough to simultaneously image an entire mouse at low resolution, and the beam can be collimated to prevent exposure of tissues outside the field of interest. The unit is equipped for respiratory gating and has a video camera that enables monitoring of the animal once inside the imaging chamber. The system console is a Windows-based PC. A dedicated image reconstruction engine delivers images in “real-time”, i.e. by the end of scan for image sizes up to 512×512×512 voxels. Images are viewed on a separate, UNIX?based workstation running a powerful suite of image rendering and analysis tools under the AMIRA® package. Of particular importance is the seamless interface between the microCAT and the microPET, which are both from Siemens/CTIMI. The microCAT bed is exchangeable between the two scanners, and the microPET image viewing and analysis package (ASIPro®) supports PET-CT fusion imaging.
 
Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Recognized nationwide for its innovative biomedical research, City of Hope's Beckman Research Institute is home to some of the most tenacious and creative minds in science.
City of Hope is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, the highest designation awarded by the National Cancer Institute to institutions that lead the way in cancer research, treatment, prevention and professional education.
Learn more about City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
Support Our Research
By giving to City of Hope, you support breakthrough discoveries in laboratory research that translate into lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.
 
 
 
 
Media Inquiries/Social Media

For media inquiries contact:

Dominique Grignetti
800-888-5323
dgrignetti@coh.org

 

For sponsorships inquiries please contact:

Stefanie Sprester
213-241-7160
ssprester@coh.org

Christine Nassr
213-241-7112
cnassr@coh.org

 
CONNECT WITH US
Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Blog
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • For breast cancer survivors, a common worry is a recurrence of their cancer. Currently, these patients are screened with regular mammograms, but there’s no way to tell who is more likely to have a recurrence and who is fully cleared of her cancer. A new blood test – reported in Cancer Research, a journal of the...
  • Metastasis — the spreading of cancer cells from a primary tumor site to other parts of the body — generally leads to poorer outcomes for patients, so oncologists and researchers are constantly seeking new ways to detect and thwart this malicious process. Now City of Hope researchers may have identified a substa...
  • Deodorant, plastic bottles, grilled foods, artificial sweeteners, soy products … Do any of these products really cause cancer? With so many cancer myths and urban legends out there, why not ask the experts? They can debunk cancer myths while sharing cancer facts that matter, such as risk factors, preventi...
  • Cancer risk varies by ethnicity, as does the risk of cancer-related death. But the size of those differences can be surprising, highlighting the health disparities that exist among various ethnic groups in the United States. Both cancer incidence and death rates for men are highest among African-Americans, acco...
  • George Winston, known worldwide for his impressionistic, genre-defying music, considers music to be his first language, and admits he often stumbles over words – especially when he attempts languages other than English. There’s one German phrase he’s determined to perfect, however: danke schön. Winston thinks h...
  • Few decisions are more important than those involving health care, and few decisions can have such lasting impact, not only on oneself but on relatives and loved ones. Those choices, especially, should be made in advance – carefully, deliberately, free of pain and stress, and with much weighing of values and pr...
  • Using a card game to make decisions about health care, especially as those decisions relate to the end of life, would seem to be a poor idea. It isn’t. The GoWish Game makes those overwhelming, but all-important decisions not just easy, but natural. On each card of the 36-card deck is listed what seriously ill,...
  • Young adults and adolescents with cancer face unique challenges both during their treatment and afterward. Not only are therapies for children and older adults not always appropriate for them, they also must come to terms with the disease and treatment’s impact on their relationships, finances, school or ...
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer, other than skin cancer, among women in the United States. It’s also the second-leading cause of cancer death, behind lung cancer. In the past several years, various task force recommendations and studies have questioned the benefits of broad screening guidelines fo...
  • Paternal age and the health effects it has on potential offspring have been the focus of many studies, but few have examined the effect parental age has on the risk of adult-onset hormone-related cancers (breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer). A team of City of Hope researchers, lead by Yani Lu,...
  • Hormone therapy, which is prescribed to women for relief of menopausal symptoms such hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, has recently seen a decline in popularity (and use) due to its link to an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. But City of Hope researchers have found that menopausal h...
  • Myeloproliferative neoplasms can’t be narrowed down to a single cancer, but they can be described by a defining characteristic: too many blood cells. The diseases bring with them a host of frustrating, potentially life-altering symptoms, and management of the diseases and their symptoms is crucial. An upcoming ...
  • More than 18,000 researchers, clinicians, advocates and other professionals will convene at the 105th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting taking place in San Diego from April 5 to 9. With more than 6,000 findings being presented over this five-day period, the amount of information can...
  • Cancer of the prostate is the No. 2 cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer, accounting for more than 29,000 deaths annually in this country. But because prostate cancer advances slowly, good prostate health and early detection can make all the difference. Many prostate cancer tumors don’t require immedi...
  • Despite advances made in detecting and treating nonsmall cell lung cancer, its prognosis remains grim. Even patients whose cancers are caught at their earliest stage have only a 50 percent chance of five-year survival. This poor prognosis is due in part to the cancer’s ability to resist treatment, renderi...