One of the most crucial steps that can be carried out before a new therapy can be introduced to humans is preclinical research. One of the most common methods of discovering how a therapeutic treatment interacts with cellular distributions and single cells through high-resolution visual representations is the utilization of imaging techniques. Many imaging techniques are not perfect however, and research typically needs multiple techniques to quantify what is occurring with the uptake of therapeutics into cells.
Non-Invasive Imaging Technique
In the webinar presented in this article, Assistant Professor in Imaging and Pathology at The KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Dr. Greetje Vande Velde, will discuss the utilization of microcomputer topography (micro-CT) as a non-invasive imaging technique at the pre-clinical research stage. Dr. Velde will discuss how this technique can be employed to improve the ethics of pre-clinical research by minimizing the number of animals needed to perform tests and to produce high quality results on dynamic disease processes.
The webinar is run in association with both KU Leuven and Bruker, the webinar begins by introducing Dr Greetje Vande Velde’s work. This is quickly followed by a general overview of non-invasive imaging techniques, animal groups for therapy, disease models, and the issues with many other methods when working with animals.
The webinar then gives an overview of what micro-CT is and why Dr Velde’s research group is using micro-CT as their imaging method of choice, even though at KU Leuven they have access to a huge range of imaging techniques through the Molecular Small Animal Imaging Centre (moSAIC).
Regarding the operating principles, Dr Vande Velde observes both the computing and physical scanning functions that allow a 3D image to be generated without damaging the samples in question; and also demonstrates how micro-CT can give more than just a conventional anatomical representation, unlike other CT methods. This is also a very “flavorful” section of the talk.
Micro-CT: A Powerful Imaging Technique
One of the main areas of application where micro-CT is a powerful technique is in imaging lung fibrosis and emphysema. Introduction into the technique aside, Dr Velde looks at this technique using relevant publication examples. This way of imaging is described through the creation of a longitudinal 3D model aerated and non-aerated lung tissues to determine whether the animal in question has lung fibrosis.
One major difference for these applications is that by utilizing the micro-CT you can build up 2D and 3D models at separate time points, and additionally the tissues can be quantitatively analyzed as a function of their aerated volume and so can be used to distinguish the efficacy of a therapeutic treatment.
The low radiation dose is another reason to choose micro-CT above other imaging techniques. Dr Velde often works with animals over long time periods, frequently for weeks at a time, and the more invasive techniques dispense too much radiation across these time-frames which can damage the obtained data and quality of the image. This is not a problem with micro-CT and is the reason it can be employed for extended time frames for the sample animal model.
Dr Vande Velde also discusses another key application as lung infection, and how it supplies a novel approach in establishing the extent of lung infection, even before symptoms have begun to show. The longer time frames also provide a way to follow how these diseases progress within the lungs from both quantitative and visual perspectives.
Micro-CT Helps Quantify Treatment Results
Next the webinar gives insight into some of Dr Velde’s colleagues in Barcelona who are examining the morphology of children faces with Down’s syndrome and how particular therapies can aid these children’s cognitive abilities. Micro-CT provides a way to quantify the treatment results when used for this application, instead of simply providing an observation, like other methods that have been employed.
To learn in more detail about Bruker BioSpin’s product, Skyscan 1278 micro-CT, to observe how utilizing this technique could help your research, and to see why micro-CT is perceived as better than the current gold standard, please click here to register and watch to the webinar.
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