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The Small Animal Imaging Laboratory (SAIL) Core provides advanced and affordable multi-modality imaging services including consultation, imaging and image analysis for both basic and translational research. As a cutting-edge research facility, SAIL offers state of the art instrumentation including a 7T MRI, multimodal PET/SPECT/CT, ultrasound and optical modalities.

Established procedures are in place to evaluate tumor development, progression, metastasis and therapy response in rodent models of cancer. A large variety of studies ranging from development of imaging biomarkers, contrast agents and tumor targeting agents, to evaluating tumor metabolism and microenvironment, and high-resolution anatomical imaging of human specimens have been successfully conducted.

To provide means for non-invasive, longitudinal assessments of detailed animal anatomy, physiology, metabolism and gene-expression, basic and advanced image analysis is offered for each imaging modality.

MRI/MRS (7 Tesla Biospec, Bruker Biospin Inc.)

  • Non-invasive high-resolution 3D imaging with and without contrast agents.
  • Spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging correlating anatomical and metabolic information.
  • Hyperpolarization for a 10,000-fold sensitivity increase in spectra.

Nuclear Medicine Imaging CT/PET/SPECT (Siemens Inveon, Scanco uCT 35)

  • In vivo 3D multi-modal imaging in one session.
  • High-resolution datasets for microanatomy and lung nodule detection (CT).
  • High-resolution anatomical imaging in-vivo.
  • Using positron-emitting tracers, assess uptake and metabolism (PET).
  • Using gamma-emitting radioisotopes to assess functional information (SPECT).
  • Ex vivo high resolution bone imaging (CT). 

Optical Imaging: Bioluminscence (Bruker Xtreme, IVIS 100 & 200, Perkin-Elmer)

  • Bioluminescent cells engineered to express the firefly luciferase gene for in vivo tracking during tumor formation are available.
  • Evaluation of xenograft tumor growth and therapy response by injection of luciferin substrate and the subsequent detection of released photons. 

Optical Imaging: Fluorescence (Bruker Xtreme, Perkin-Elmer FMT 2500, SurgVision, Fluoptix Fluobeam 700, iQID)

  • Fluorescence imaging is used to detect cells expressing fluorescent protein or to track the pharmacokinetics of fluorescent-dye conjugated agents in 2D/3D.
  • Radioisotopic & radiographic imaging of 223Ra, 225Ac based biomarkers.
  • X-ray and visible light imaging for overlay.
  • Quantification of changes in bone and soft tissue phenotype.
  • Multispectral analysis of multiple fluorescent samples in a single sample, or to eliminate background autofluorescence.
  • Real-time fluorescence imaging for fluorescence-guided surgery using targeted imaging agents.

Ultrasound Imaging (Vevo 2100)

  • Ultrasound for non-invasive imaging of internal organs and tumor morphology.
  • Rapid and accurate determination of tumor volume.
  • Guided injection of cells into internal organ sites for formation of orthotopic xenograft tumors.
  • Doppler and micro-bubble contrast imaging to determine tumor perfusion.

3D Printing (Stratasys Objet24, Ultimaker 3)

  • 3D printing for co-registration of imaging and histology.
  • Custom parts (phantoms, holders) for MRI, CT, microscopy and others as needed.

The SAIL is located in the Stabile Research Building (SRB) Vivarium.

The SAIL uses a Laboratory Information Management Suite (LIMS) located on the Moffittnet for billing and usage tracking.

All publications based on work conducted in the SAIL Core should acknowledge the facility.  A suggested statement is as follows:

This work has been supported in part by the Small Animal Imaging Lab Core at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, a comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute and funded in part by Moffitt’s Cancer Center Support Grant (P30-CA076292) 

If a Core Staff member(s) significantly contributes or participates in a project, investigators are encouraged to consider including the individual(s) in the list of authors.

Scientific Director
David Morse, PhD 

Core Manager
Mikalai M. Budzevich, PhD