CU Cancer Center’s Shared Resources: Animal Imaging (AISR)

2016_PET_SPECT_bestThe Animal Imaging Shared Resource (AISR) is the Cancer Center high-end translational imaging technology core which provides comprehensive analytical services, collaboration and training in animal imaging and quantitative image analysis for cancer research.  The AISR provides scientific and technical expertise in anatomical, physiological and molecular imaging on animal cancer models. The team also provides training in animal handling and image analysis. The following instruments are available to all Anschutz Medical Campus researchers:

  • Bruker 4.7 Tesla MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner
  • Caliper Life Sciences IVIS200  bioluminescence imager
  • Siemens Inveon microCT (computed tomography)
  • Siemens microPET (positron emission tomography)
  • Bruker NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometers for ex vivo metabolomics

In addition, an animal ultrasound system and microSPECT/CT scanner are available through Cardiology and Radiology, respectively.

This broad spectrum of animal scanners allows for assessing tumor growth, angiogenesis, metabolism and microenvironment in a living animal non-invasively and in a real time.  The AISR routinely performs the following studies for their users:

  • Longitudinal high-resolution volumetric MRI and CT on xenografts and spontaneous tumors and distant bone, lung, liver and brain metastases;
  • Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI for the assessment of angiogenesis, especially using novel VEGF/VEGFR2 targeted therapies;
  • Iron-oxide nanoparticle MRI for lymph node staging and imaging of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs)
  • 18F-FDG PET and PET/CT in tumor-bearing animals for tumor metabolic activity;
  • High-throughput longitudinal monitoring of tumor growth and metastases in mice by IVIS scanner using luciferase-expressing tumor cells
  • In addition, ex vivo NMR metabolomics is performed in excised tumors and cancer cells for a comprehensive metabolic analysis.

In summary, the AISR is dedicated to provide animal imaging expertise through its comprehensive animal imaging instrumentation, advanced physiological imaging protocols, development of novel contrasts and molecular probes, and quantitative multi-parametric imaging endpoints. To expedite all imaging-based studies, IACUC pre-approved imaging SOPs and a master imaging protocol are available. For any further requires please contact Kendra Huber, Denise Davis or Dr. Natalie Serkova.

About the author: CU Cancer Center

Located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of Colorado Cancer Center is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines. CU Cancer Center is a consortium of more than 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and six institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life.

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