Today, the UMCG announced that it acquired and installed through an Investeringsagenda grant, the first clinical multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging research system in The Netherlands, the MSOT Acuity Echo.
Optoacoustic imaging can be described by ‘listening to light, listening to molecules’ (quote Ntziachristos et al). The method operates through several millimeters to centimeters of tissue enabling tomographic three-dimensional imaging with optical contrast, significantly deeper than even the most advanced forms of modern microscopy. The video-rate image acquisition facilitates visualization of dynamic phenomena over time, avoiding delays through imaging and long scan times. High detection specificity is achieved by resolving multiple spectral signatures through tissues and accurately decomposing the biodistribution of relevant molecules from non-specific background contributions.
Disease areas under investigations are non-invasive fluorescent optoacoustic imaging of solid tumors and treatment monitoring by GMP labelling therapeutic antibodies (prof Kosterink, Hospital Pharmacy) which can be traced down in humans such as in patients with melanoma or breast cancer. Additionally, cardiovascular disease by imaging the vulnerable plaque and detection of bacterial infections of implants (e.g. hip or knee implants or endocarditis) and inflammatory processes like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease are under investigation.
Together with world-leading chemists and biologist of TRACER Lab (prof Elsinga, prof Feringa and dr Szymanski), new compounds with optimal optoacoustic properties will be developed.
Prof van Dam, lead investigator and world-leading pioneer in the field of clinical translation of optical imaging and in particular fluorescence guided surgery, pathology and endoscopy and the team of the Nuclear Imaging and Molecular Imaging department (prof Slart and prof Dierckx) will exploit and manage the system.
The research group of prof van Dam is world-leading in the development and translation of optical tracers and camera systems and has a strong focus on innovative optical imaging modalities in order to improve the (non-invasive) detection and treatment monitoring of cancer, bacteria, cardiovascular disease and inflammation in patients.
Furthermore, these imaging techniques support the drug development process in earlier go / no-go decision making for regional start-up companies and larger pharma industries also through the linked CRO activities exploited within TRACER Europe BV, a spin-off company of the UMCG .
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