Tracking tumor metastases to bone in a longitudinal manner is a significant challenge. Gold standard techniques to image bone include histomorphometry and faxitron analyses. While these techniques still provide valuable information and are frequently used by researchers in the bone center, they are limited by having to sacrifice the animal (histomorphometry) or cannot provide information about the tumor when it is small. To track tumor metastases to bone from early in the course of metastases, we work closely with the Vanderbilt University Institute for Imaging Sciences testing state-of the-art imaging techniques such as Near Infrared, fluorescence, µPET, µSPECT, MRI, and µCT.
µCT: µCT and x-rays of the same live animal indicate that µCT is an extremely sensitive tool for the detection of osteolytic lesions.
µPET: These images indicate that we can detect tumors in bone as early as 7 days after tumor cell inoculation by µPET. This is about 2 wks prior to being able to see detectable lesions by x-ray.
µSPECT: Allows us to monitor bone turn-over in tumor bearing animals, and to determine how the tumor effects bone-turnover.