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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2005 Feb;16(1):79-88.

Optical tomographic imaging of small animals.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, ET351 Mudd Building, 500 West 120th Street, MC8904, New York, NY 10027, USA.


Diffuse optical tomography is emerging as a viable new biomedical imaging modality. Using visible and near-infrared light this technique can probe the absorption and scattering properties of biological tissues. The main applications are currently in brain, breast, limb and joint imaging; however, optical tomographic imaging of small animals is attracting increasing attention. This interest is fuelled by recent advances in the transgenic manipulation of small animals that has led to many models of human disease. In addition, an ever increasing number of optically reactive biochemical markers has become available, which allow diseases to be detected at the molecular level long before macroscopic symptoms appear. The past three years have seen an array of novel technological developments that have led to the first optical tomographic studies of small animals in the areas of cerebral ischemia and cancer.

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