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SPECT Imaging Module for Small Animal Imaging

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Our long-term objective is to establish a small animal imaging facility (SAIF) at the College of Pharmacy in the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). The purpose of this proposal is to acquire a single photon emission tomography (SPECT) system for small animals. The system will complement our existing capabilities of providing positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) for imaging animal models. We envision creating the SAIF infrastructure in order to distribute the expertise of nuclear imaging in growing drug development and pre-clinical efforts within the ranks of OUHSC, and other Oklahoma-based research centers and pharmaceutical laboratories. The acquisition of a SPECT system will facilitate the over all goal of the College of Pharmacy to expand nuclear pharmacy education, research and service. As such, the specific aims of this proposal are: 1. to acquire SPECT module for our existing small animal PET-CT system, and 2. to establish a mechanism for provision of imaging capabilities to the biomedical researchers. The College of Pharmacy has already acquired a PET-CT system for small animals. The system is modular in nature and has the capability of being upgraded to a tri-modality system by addition of a SPECT module. We propose to obtain a module based on advanced Cadmium Zinc Telluride detector with high energy, spatial, and contrast resolution. The proposed detector has high sensitivity of detection. The SPECT will be acquired with the imaging and reconstruction package which will enable us to simultaneously image multiple SPECT radionuclides within the same session. Significance: Recently, the FDA and NCI have published a Critical Path Initiative to address dropping submission rate of new molecular entities. The development of imaging biomarkers is an essential part of the strategy proposed to overcome this barrier. The proposed SAIF will be the first in Oklahoma region to provide multi-modality nuclear imaging. It will be leveraged by biomedical researchers in OUHSC as well as other research facilities in Oklahoma to hasten pre-clinical phase of drug development. With the ever increasing number of researchers seeking a variety of imaging support, acquisition of SPECT in OUHSC has become a necessity. The proposed SPECT system will also add essential value in the overall educational program of the College of Pharmacy which offers graduate program in nuclear pharmacy. In service area, the OUHSC Nuclear Pharmacy often produces `orphan'SPECT radiopharmaceuticals for clinical use. The existence of SPECT imaging within the College of Pharmacy will be of immense value in testing these products for their imaging potential and biodistribution before their clinical usage. Therefore, SPECT imaging in SAIF will serve all three components of the OUHSC mission- Research, Education and Service, and help OUHSC fulfill its ambition to improve regional health care. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: We propose to acquire a single photon emission tomography (SPECT) system to image small animal models of human diseases. The SPECT will help speed up pre-clinical drug development research in Oklahoma region, supplement educational program in nuclear pharmacy, and provide a resource to the OUHSC Nuclear Pharmacy for the development of new radiopharmaceuticals.

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