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We report on tests of a combined fluorescence and radionuclide planar imaging system for in vivo investigation on small animals. Combined images of anaesthetized mice bearing a surface solid tumor are presented. The fluorescent marker is a hematoporphyrin compound laser-excited with green light and imaged in the red fluorescence emission with a standard monochrome charge coupled device (CCD) camera. The gamma-ray (99mTc) pinhole imaging system uses a semiconductor pixel detector obtained by hybridizing a Silicon (300-μm thick) or a CdTe (1-mm thick) pixel detector to the Medipix2 (55-μm pitch) readout integrated circuit for single photon counting. The acquisition of combined images of the tumor area (fluorescence: animal top view; radionuclide: bottom view) shows that the tumor area can be imaged in a few minutes, with a few millimeter resolution (1-mm pinhole diameter), radioactively (99mTc MIBI, 74 MBq), and with the optical system. Combined imaging revealed also a different uptake of the two types of tumors studied (one grown from anaplastic human thyroid carcinoma-derived cells, the other from human papillary carcinoma-derived cells). Future progress will be toward a more compact optical setup and the use of a thicker CdTe detector.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005