On June 1, 2012, Dr. Donna Kusewitt, Director of the CRED Integrated Imaging Pathogy and Histology Core, received a CPRIT Shared Instrumentation Award to support the purchase of an IVIS Spectrum, the most versatile and advanced in vivo imaging system for experimental animals currently available. The almost $700,000, three-year award also includes funds for instrument installation, advanced training in imaging techniques for IIPH personnel, and pilot projects to encourage rapid incorporation of in vivo imaging capabilities into ongoing research projects. The IVIS Spectrum will be housed in the Science Park animal facility, allowing repeated imaging of animals on study. The IIPH Core will supervise instrument maintenance and operation; IIPH Core personnel will provide IVIS Spectrum imaging services or train CRED investigators to use the instrument independently.
The IVIS Spectrum is the most technologically sophisticated small animal in vivo imaging instrument now available. The Spectrum performs bioluminescent and fluorescent imaging, spectral imaging, and spectral unmixing, thus multiple bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters across the blue to near infrared wavelength region can be visualized simultaneously. Three-dimensional topographic imaging capabilities localize these reporters in an anatomical context. Flexible field of view settings allow for single cell resolution or imaging up to five mice at once. Bioluminescent imaging is the preferred approach for non-invasive deep tissue optical imaging, because the signal emitted has excellent tissue penetration and can be detected with high sensitivity and specificity. However, fluorescent imaging is useful for specific purposes, including tracking the biodistribution of fluorescently labeled substrates and antibodies in living animals and rapid, inexpensive screening of transfected cell lines. With the Spectrum, appropriately labeled autochthonous or engrafted cells, both tumor cells and other cell types, can be imaged quantitatively. The system is ideal for longitudinal studies, allowing repeated and sensitive measures of the localization, trafficking, and expansion of labeled cells. Such longitudinal in vivo studies have many advantages over studies based on serial sacrifice. Because each animal provides data at multiple time points and because study endpoints can be more specifically identified, fewer animals are required and considerably more quantitative information is garnered. Recently developed techniques employ the Spectrum to image protein-protein interactions in vivo. Moreover, optical imaging can be used to detect some b+, b-, and g emitters that trigger light emission in the 490-850 nm range, providing some of the imaging capabilities of PET and SPECT. Thus, the IVIS Spectrum will provide a wide variety of novel experimental approaches to CRED researchers