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Rev Sci Instrum. 2009 Apr;80(4):043701. doi: 10.1063/1.3109903.

A microcomputed tomography guided fluorescence tomography system for small animal molecular imaging.

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  • 1Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


A prototype small animal imaging system was created for coupling fluorescence tomography (FT) with x-ray microcomputed tomography (microCT). The FT system has the potential to provide synergistic information content resultant from using microCT images as prior spatial information and then allows overlay of the FT image onto the original microCT image. The FT system was designed to use single photon counting to provide maximal sensitivity measurements in a noncontact geometry. Five parallel detector locations are used, each allowing simultaneous sampling of the fluorescence and transmitted excitation signals through the tissue. The calibration and linearity range performance of the system are outlined in a series of basic performance tests and phantom studies. The ability to image protoporphyrin IX in mouse phantoms was assessed and the system is ready for in vivo use to study biological production of this endogenous marker of tumors. This multimodality imaging system will have a wide range of applications in preclinical cancer research ranging from studies of the tumor microenvironment and treatment efficacy for emerging cancer therapeutics.

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