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Last Updated: 10/28/16

Small Animal Imaging Resource Program (SAIRP)


Small Animal Imaging Resource Program (SAIRP) grants support shared imaging research resources to be used by cancer investigators and support research related to small animal imaging technology. SAIRs will enhance capabilities for conducting basic, clinical, and translational cancer research relevant to the mission of the NCI. Major goals of these resources are to increase efficiency, synergy, and innovation of such research and to foster research interactions that cross disciplines, approaches, and levels of analysis. Building and strengthening such links holds great potential for better understanding cancer, and ultimately, for better treatment and prevention.

Small animal models, particularly genetically engineered mice, are increasingly recognized as powerful discovery tools in cancer research. The potential that could be realized by the use of animal models has not yet fully been realized. One of the limitations is the need to sacrifice the animals to perform tissue or molecular analysis. This prevents researchers from observing in vivo the natural or perturbed evolution of the processes under study. Functional, molecular, and morphologic quantitative imaging techniques are an important tool for providing data about biochemical, genetic or pharmacological processes in vivo, and repetitively in the same animal. The SAIRP program is envisioned as enhancing such multidisciplinary activities by supporting coordinated shared research resources for NIH-funded investigators performing cancer research. SAIRs offer a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary teams within the cancer research community to address critical cancer research questions.

Objectives and Scope

Small Animal Imaging Resource Programs (SAIRs) provide:

  • Multiple imaging technologies for small animals, emphasizing, but not limited to, those technologies which can provide biochemical, genetic or pharmacological information in vivo.
  • Technology research and development on innovative new imaging technologies appropriate for small animals, as well as refinement and development of technologies already established.
  • Capabilities and personnel to assist in the development and/or production of necessary probes for the imaging technologies provided.
  • Capabilities and personnel to aid in small animal anesthesia and care, as well as to consult on the optimal use of animals in connection with the imaging experiments.


The SAIR will use approximately one half to two thirds of its resources and time to provide imaging services and collaboration to cancer-related research projects.

Current SAIRP Institutions and Principal Investigators