iThera Medical offers the only optoacoustic imaging system with real-time whole-body imaging capability. This powerful tool for preclinical small animal imaging introduces a new standard into preclinical research.

Biological processes and the effect of pharmacological substances can be observed in vivo, in deep tissue, in real time, and in high resolution.

Endogenous chromophores as well as extrinsically administered probes can be differentiated from tissue background by tuning the excitation laser wavelength, collecting the optoacoustic signal acquired at multiple wavelengths and performing spectral unmixing.

Evaluation of precision

MSOT is widely used in preclinical imaging. However, its precision (repeatability and reproducibility) had yet to be determined. In a recent study performed using an MSOT inVision 256-TF at the University of Cambridge, measurements in stable phantoms were used to independently assess the impact of system variables on precision (using coefficient of variation, COV), including acquisition wavelength, rotational position, and frame averaging [1].

MSOT COV in a stable phantom was shown to be less than 2.8 % across all wavelengths over 30 days. This compares with other commercially available optoacoustic imaging systems shown by the same group to have a one-month COV of 13 %, i.e. being close to 5 times more variable [2]. Functional SO2 measurements using MSOT based on a standard operating procedure showed an exceptional reproducibility of less than 4% COV.

Therefore, longitudinal MSOT studies may be performed with high confidence if standard operating procedures are followed.

MSOT precision as function of time in stable polyurethane phantom at 700 nm.
(A) Normalized mean pixel intensity over 160 min (NR).
(B) Mean pixel intensity (arbitrary units, a.u.) over 6 h in single day with removal (R) and without removal. (NR) of phantom between data acquisitions.
(C) Mean pixel intensity over 30 d (R) with 0.17% drift.

[1] Joseph J et al., Evaluation of precision in optoacoustic tomography for preclinical imaging in living subjects, J Nucl Med. 2017 May;58(5):807-814.
[2] Bohndiek et al., Development and application of stable phantoms for the evaluation of photoacoustic imaging instruments, PLoS One. 2013 Sep 25;8(9):e75533.

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Preclinical MSOT experiment workflow

iThera Medical's MSOT imaging systems facilitate a wide variety of imaging applications as well as extensive data analysis, and are yet easy to use. To get a first-hand impression of the MSOT experiment procedure for small animal studies, follow this link: play video

Small animal bed for use with handheld MSOT detectors

An animal bed enabling automated 2D and 3D imaging of small animals using a variety of handheld detectors is now available. The animal bed can be used as an adjunct with inVision and EIP MSOT imaging systems.

Key features include:

  • Automated data acquisition
  • Stage control in three dimensions
  • Heated animal pad
  • Laser safety interlocks
  • Camera for animal monitoring
  • Access for catheters or vital sign monitoring

Hybrid OPUS imaging technology

iThera Medical proudly announces the launch of its integrated optoacoustic / ultrasound (OPUS) imaging technology. The MSOT inVision 512-echo is the world's first hybrid tomographic OPUS imaging system, providing unparalelled and user-independent image quality, in real time, throughout the entire animal cross-section.

While the tomographic optoacoustic images generated by the inVision systems contain excellent information on tissue morphology based on hemoglobin absorrption, the integration of reflection-mode ultrasound tomography (R-UCT) capability adds complementary anatomical information, particularly for structures that are poorly perfused.

The figure below documents the complementary information provided by the MSOT inVision 512-echo from optoacoustic and ultrasound imaging.

A: Maximum intensity projections (MIP) of whole-body optoacoustic (left) and ultrasound (right) images stacks.
B: Annotated cross-sections of optoacoustic (right) and ultrasound (left) images.
Reference histology for OA / R-UCT cross-sections shown in B.

Initial experiments suggest that the addition of R-UCT will be particularly useful for applications where any of the below structures need to be visualized:

  • Tumor margins
  • Metastases
  • Pancreas
  • Bladder

All MSOT inSight / inVision imaging systems are designed to be fully upgradeable. Integration of R-UCT requires the use of a 512-element detector, the integration of transmit / receive electronics and adaptation of the acquisition and post-processing software ViewMSOT.

A brief information pack on our new OPUS technology can be downloaded in the respective section on the right or under Link.

Technical information for MSOT inSight / inVision systems

  • Single-wavelength optoacoustic imaging at 10 Hz frame rate
  • Real-time spectral component visualization at up to 5 Hz frame rate
  • Co-registered reflection-mode ultrasound computed tomography (R-UCT)
    imaging for MSOT inVision 512-echo
  • Penetration depth of 2-4 cm, sufficient for whole-body small animal imaging
  • Cross-sectional spatial in-plane resolution: 150 μm
  • High-energy / fast-tunable laser system (100 mJ / 10 ms)
  • Tomographic ultrasound detector array with 64/128/256/512 elements
  • Image acquisition fully automated
  • Data post-processing suite for spectral and temporal analysis
  • Joseph J et al.,
    Evaluation of precision in optoacoustic tomography for preclinical imaging in living subjects,
    J Nucl Med. 2017 Jan 26. DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.116.182311.
  • Merčep E. et al.,
    Whole-body live mouse imaging by hybrid reflection-mode ultrasound and optoacoustic tomography,
    Opt. Lett. 40, 4643-4646 (2015). DOI: 10.1364/OL.40.004643.
  • Merčep E. et al.,
    Hybrid Optoacoustic Tomography and Pulse–Echo Ultrasonography Using Concave Arrays,
    IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2015 Sep;62(9):1651-61. DOI: 10.1109/TUFFC.2015.007058.
  • Alexander Dima et al.,
    Multispectral optoacoustic tomography at 64, 128, and 256 channels,
    J Biomed Opt. 2014 Mar;19(3):36021. DOI: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.3.036021.
  • Razansky D et al.,
    Deep Tissue Optical and Optoacoustic Molecular Imaging Technologies for Pre-Clinical Research and Drug Discovery,

    Curr. Pharm. Biotechnol., 2012, 13 (3), 504-522.
  • Razansky D et al.,

    Volumetric Real-time Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography of Biomarkers,

Nature Protocols 6, 1121-1129 (2011).
 DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2011.351.
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