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Last Updated: 10/28/16

University of Texas Southwestern

University of Texas Southwestern Small Animal Imaging Resource

Ralph P. Mason, Ph.D., and A. Dean Sherry, Ph.D.
University of Texas Southwestern

Grant Number U24CA126608

Small Animal Imaging Facility in Simmons Cancer Center

UT Southwestern Small Animal Imaging Resource

The Southwestern Small Animal Imaging Resource (SW-SAIR) seeks to promote and facilitate small animal imaging research related to cancer at UT Southwestern. It combines facilities, expertise, and resources of the Department of Radiology, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Advanced Imaging Research Center. Major recent investment in imaging has provided a new building and substantial infrastructure (instruments, space, and personnel) based on a trinity of collaboration between UT Southwestern Medical Center, UT Dallas and UT Arlington.

The SW-SAIR has three primary functions: i) to provide state of the art small animal imaging infrastructure to support a total of 12 Base Grants. These represent Federally funded cancer research including SPORE, PPG, and R01 grants with disease sites including lung, brain, prostate, breast, and bladder. The grants represent concepts ranging from drug development to tumor physiology to reporter molecule development, ii) research and development to push the frontiers of small animal imaging related to three dimensional bioluminescence and novel molecular targeting agents using the PARACEST approach, and iii) training through an annual symposium, regular seminars and hands-on instruction.

The SW-SAIR provides centralized coordination and integration of expertise and imaging infra-structure including MRI, radionuclide and optical imaging. Resources allow development of new reporter molecules, radiolabeling and cell transfection. Core leaders and faculty can advise investigators: i) on experimental planning (optimal experimental approaches, image manipulation, and statistical analysis, coordinating with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Environmental Health and Safety), ii) implementing investigations (access to instruments and scheduling experiments), iii) data analysis and validation and data archiving. Technical experts can assist with proof of principle investigations including pulse programming and implementation for novel MRI experiments, building of MR coils, choice of reporter molecules and /or genes, radiolabeling procedures and synthesis of ligands. Once experimental protocols have been established, routine investigations can be performed on a cost recovery basis by dedicated skilled technicians.

The SW-SAIR offers notable expertise in oximetry, gene reporter molecules and assays, vascular targeting and dynamic optical imaging, nanoparticle design, PARACEST, 19F, 23Na and 13C NMR, hyperpolarization and metabolic imaging.

The SW-SAIR provides access to new state of the art small animal MR (4.7, 7, and 9.4 T horizontal bore systems), PET/CT, and optical imaging (bioluminescent and fluorescent). Complemented by human 3 T and 7 T MRI and PET/CT we are able to promote translation from bench to bedside and mouse to man. The SW-SAIR seeks to provide a regional resource and additionally lead in imaging innovation at the national and international levels. We are pleased to initiate new collaborations worldwide.