Research Infrastructure
  1. Title: A High-Resolution, Large Bore MicroPET System for Translational Imaging Research
    Principal Investigator: Michael Duff Davis, Ph.D.
    Funding: 1S10RR023674-01A1 Project
    Dates: September 30, 2007 - September 29, 2008

    The charter of the Research Imaging Institute (RII) is to provide access to a comprehensive array of cutting- edge, non-invasive PET and MRI imaging instrumentation for prosecuting the highest quality preclinical and clinical research. With this proposal, funds are sought to expand the existing small-animal PET laboratory by adding a new, state-of-the-art Siemens Focus 220 microPET system. In the past, numerous investigators wielding attractive research proposals were turned away for practical considerations; because either their subjects were too large to fit in the RII's older rodent PET, or the resolution of this unit, and that of our clinical PET scanners, lack sufficient resolving power. The advanced features of the Focus 220 include superior resolution; nearly double that of any other human or large animal PET camera in production, and a wider field of view. With twice the bore diameter of the rodent PET, the Focus 220 aperture will now permit studies using much larger subjects, including adult non-human primates such as rhesus and baboons. In timely complement to this PET system will be the RII's new cyclotron and radiochemistry complex, expected to be commissioned in spring 2007. This $5.2M facility was successfully funded through a campaign of private philanthropy and a special allocation from the University of Texas System; a demonstration of the continuing commitment to develop the RII as a formidable regional resource in translational research. Cyclotron-generated radiotracer development and validation would be accelerated with the Focus 220 using animal models. The prospect of acquiring a high-resolution, wide-bore microPET, coupled with access to a diverse inventory of classical and novel PET ligands for molecular imaging, was the catalyst in generating the 34 interdisciplinary research proposals described herein from the RII's current and future collaborators. This is a testament to the potential impact the Focus 220 would bring in serving a multi-disciplinary, cross-institutional scientific community that includes UTHSCSA, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR), the Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital and the University of Texas. Another strategic asset is the RII's interactive partnership with the nearby NCRR Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC), where an eclectic colony of non-human primates is maintained. This affords an exceptional opportunity for those wishing to use subjects that are more phylogenetically related to humans. Acquisition of the Focus 220 system will provide a powerful new tool that will drive high-caliber, high-impact translatable research and serve to spawn future innovative NIH proposals. Steady advances in basic science have yielded valuable animal models of human disease, just as improvements in technology have given us increasingly more powerful research tools with which to study them. This PET system will enhance our ability to non-invasively and non-destructively image animal organ systems for biomedical research and accelerate the evaluation of emerging therapies for treating human disorders, such as cancer, stroke and aging-related diseases.