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Multi Modality Preclinical Imaging Using a Compact Desktop MRI Scanner

At the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Dr. Lenkinski and his group have recently sited a 1.0 T scanner (Aspect-MR http://www.aspect-mr.com/) with no fringe field for use in multi-modality preclinical imaging studies of tumors.

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A picture of the Aspect MR scanner is shown above. This MRI was sited in close proximity to our preclinical PET/CT scanner (Siemens Inveon) in order to facilitate using the soft-tissue contrast available from MRI to co-register PET images. The scanner uses a common animal bed and a common anesthetic apparatus. These two features ensure that the animal (mouse or rat) can be moved between the MRI and PET with ease and without moving the animal relative to the bed (see movie at the end of this section for more details). In addition to the ease of use with respect to image co-registration, the close proximity of the two scanners minimizes any of the regulatory restrictions governing then transportation of rodents after injection with radiotracers. Examples of the kinds of imaging that can be performed are shown below The question examined was measuring the uptake of FDG in brown fat of mice and the response to either physiological, or metabolic manipulation. In this example T1 weighted axial MR images are used as the anatomical template for fusion with FDG PET images. Note the excellent co-registration with brown fat, heart and other features.

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This scanner is currently available to members of the UTSW community for multimodality imaging of tumor models in mice and rats.

We have modified this scanner to acquire images at the C-13 frequency. This can be employed to perform combined PET/hyperpolarized MRI studies of tumor metabolism in mice and rat models, a logical extension of the currently funded multi-investigator grant on 13C hyperpolarization (PI: Sherry). The advantage of the 1T Aspect scanner for hyperpolarized 13C metabolic imaging could be significant because it is known that the T1’s of [1-13C]pyruvate and other agents currently being developed are substantially longer at lower fields.