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cancer-related collaborations

Many of our projects benefit cancer research

CIVM develops novel methods for preclinical imaging. We have numerous imaging systems, animal support and monitoring, visualization tools, plus the skills and expertise to help cancer researchers gather reliable and reproducible data.

Mouse models of cancer are essential in research to develop new imaging probes and validate novel therapy drugs. Below are examples of some cancer-related collaborations using CIVM imaging equipment. Click here to initiate a project with CIVM.

DUAL SOURCE MICRO-CT - a unique system for dual energy (DE) and dynamic imaging

  • Rotating specimen geometry
  • 2 Varian G297 x-ray tubes (fs=0.3/0.8 mm)
  • 2 Epsilon High Frequency X-ray generators
  • 2 XDI-VHR CCD x-ray detectors (Photonic Science)
  • Gd2O2S phosphor
  • 22-micron pixel size


  • Primary lung cancers with mutations in K-ras alone (KrasLA1) or combined with p53 (LSL-KrasG12D; p53FL/FL) were generated
  • Liposomal-iodine contrast agent with 120 mg iodine/mL administered systemically (16 µl/gm body weight)
  • Longitudinal CT with cardio-respiratory gating pre- and post-contrast (0 hr, day 3, day 7)
  • Tumor growth was assessed using CT-derived nodules


(Collaboration with DG Kirsch et al./Duke Radiation Oncology)

C Badea, KK Athreya, G Espinosa, DP Clark, AP Ghafoori, Y Yi, DG Kirsch, GA Johnson, A Annapragada, KB Ghaghada, Computed tomography imaging of primary lung cancer in mice using a liposomal-iodinated contrast agent. PLoS One 7: e34496, 2012. open access





In vivo, DE micro-CT vascular imaging in 2 primary, murine sarcoma tumors. In vivo, DE micro-CT to assess accumulation of AuNPs in the left ventricle of mice after partial heart irradiation.

(Collaboration with DG Kirsch, et al. Duke Radiation Oncology)

(Collaboration with C-L Lee, DG Kirsch et al./Duke Radiation Oncology)

  • Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) injected day 1 and liposomal iodine day 4 allowed simultaneous measures of tumor fractional blood volume using the iodine map (red) and vascular permeability using gold map (green) with a single DE scan on day 4.
  • Maximum intensity projections shown through segmented tumor volumes. (Concentrations of iodine /gold are in mg/ml.)
  • Iodine maps (red) used to contour total volume of the left ventricle.
  • Gold maps (green) used to quantify volume of myocardium that had increased AuNP accumulation (white arrow).

DP Clark,K Ghaghada,EJ Moding, DG Kirsch, CT Badea. In vivo characterization of tumor vasculature using iodine and gold nanoparticles and dual energy micro-CT. Phys Med Biol 58(6):1683-1704, 2013. PMCID: PMC3746324

C-L Lee, H Min, N Befera, D Clark, Y Qi, S Das, GA Johnson, CT Badea, DG Kirsch. Assessing cardiac injury in mice with dual energy-microCT, 4D-microCT, and microSPECT imaging following partial-heart irradiation. Int'l J Radiation Oncol, Biol, Phys 88(3): 686-693, 2014. PMCID: PMC3985387


DP Clark, C-L Lee, DG Kirsch, CT Badea: Spectro-temporal CT data acquisition and reconstruction at low dose, Med Phys 42: 6317-6336, 2015. PMCID: PMC4600087


MR 7T-BRUKER - with cryo probe for increased sensitivity

  • Smaller bore (200 mm) dedicated to in vivo MR microscopy
  • 2 sets of high-performance gradients.
  • The cryo probe fits into a 116-mm ID gradient that supplies 450 mT/m with a rise time of 110 micro-seconds
  • The cryo probe increases scanning throughput by factor of 8
  • Avance III digital console with dual transmit channels and 4-channel receiver for phased array coils


Dynamic Contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MR IMAGING



A colon adenocarcinoma 38 (MCA-38) implanted on flank of a CD-1NU/NU athymic female mouse
  coloncancer   DCE        
  • On Days 2, 7, 14 and 21, tumor vasculature leakiness was measured by DCE-MR imaging
  • 'Ktrans' is a measure of vascular leakiness (bright=very leaky; dark=no leakiness or necrotic tissue)

(Collaboration with S-E Baek, R Nelson et al. / Duke Radiology)

Necrotic core




Using DCE-MRI, pediatric high-grade gliomas in brain stem of 2 genetically-altered mice (histone mutant H3.3K27M / wild-type H3.3) at an early growth stage (left), at a later stage (center), and quantitative measure of the blood-brain-barrier permeability (right).(Collaboration with E Subashi, O Becher / Duke Radiation Oncology)



E Subashi, F Cordero, KG Halvorson, Y Qi, OJ Becher, GA Johnson, Tumor location and histone H3.3K27M mutation significantly influences the blood-brain barrier permeability in a genetic mouse model of pediatric high-grade glioma, J Neuro-Oncol 126(2):243-51, 2016. PMCID: PMC4720569





  • In a mouse model of pancreatic cancer / inflammation, the pancreas is imaged and highlighted (left)
  • Abundance of macrophages in tissue is assessed by injecting ferumoxytol (agent containing iron particles) intravenously
  • Macrophages take up ferumoxytol and cause a decrease in MRI signal (right)

(Collaboration with M Bashir,/ Duke Radiation Oncology)


SPECT-CT (MILabs) to support longitudinal molecular imaging



  • 75 pinholes
  • 3D focusing technology (ultra-high resolution: <0.35 mm in entire mouse and <0.9 mm in entire rat)
  • Quantification of molecules in tiny organ parts
  • Low dose and high-resolution total body imaging
  In this study of therapeutic peptides for pancreatic receptors, the biodistribution of I-125-labeled constructs was followed out to 144 hours.

(Collaboration with J Schaal, K Luginbuhl, A Chilkoti / Duke Biomedical Engineering)