Preclinical imaging goes to fashion week

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Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory at Stony Brook University in New York have developed an innovative technology that allows laboratory rats to ‘wear’ a mini PET scanner, in order to perform real-time neurological imaging without sedation.

The miniature, portable, donut-shaped PET scanner can be 'worn' like a collar on a rat's head for simultaneous studies of brain function and behavior. The researchers call the 250-gram device, the Rat Conscious Animal PET (RatCAP).

"Immobilization and anesthesia make it impossible to simultaneously study neurochemistry and the animals' behavior--the actions resulting from what goes on in the brain," said Charles Schlyer, PhD, a laboratory chemist at Brookhaven. "Our approach was to eliminate the need for restraint by developing a PET scanner that would move with the animal, thus opening up the possibility of directly correlating the imaging data with behavioral data acquired at the same time."

In a separate effort to uncover imaging targets for early cancer detection and treatment monitoring, radiologists at Stanford’s Molecular Imaging Program have found that contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging with molecularly targeted microbubbles allowed noninvasive in vivo assessment of a vB3 integrin, endoglin and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expression levels.

“The results provide further insights into the biology of tumor angiogenesis and may help in defining promising imaging targets for both early cancer detection and treatment monitoring of cancer using targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasonography imaging,” according to the researchers.

Oncologic studies are proliferating across the globe in order to better identify and manage this disease; however, standardization is important to widespread acceptance of the findings, especially in the early preclinical-phase trials. Therefore, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) have launched a collaboration to advance research for cancer imaging and therapies. Specifically, NCCN will work with SNM to qualify imaging sites for upcoming research projects utilizing molecular imaging in clinical trials.

In this ever-evolving specialty, we’d love to hear what innovative research your facility is undertaking, in the hopes of better treating patients one day.

Justine Cadet