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Miniature device offers great opportunities

The Dietmar Hopp Foundation has donated a new small-animal tomograph at the University Hospital in Heidelberg. The new system enables the accurate and non-invasive monitoring of tumour therapies.

The Department of Radiology at the University Hospital in Heidelberg is now able to receive valuable support in its scientific work through a miniature tomograph. The new tomograph, measuring just 150cm x 140cm x 80cm, is suitable for small animals such as rats and mice and can be used to investigate diseases and therapies. It can do so in great detail and a major benefit of the tomograph is that it operates non-invasively.

The modern diagnosis device is able to identify tumours and record the course of new therapies. The Dietmar Hoff Foundation donated one million euros to purchase the miniature positron emission tomograph (PET).
Miniature PET for small animals, donated by the Dietmar Hopp Foundation (Photo: University Hospital of Heidelberg)
Miniature PET for small animals, donated by the Dietmar Hopp Foundation (Photo: University Hospital of Heidelberg)
"The small-animal Micro-PET enables us to visualise the distribution of new radioactively-labelled molecules in experimental animals and thus gain important information on the potential use of the molecules for human application. It can therefore be regarded as a link between basic research and clinical application,” explained Professor Dr. Uwe Haberkorn, medical director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine. The system detects radioactively-labelled molecules such as sugar, amino acids, proteins and drugs in the body, thereby visualising their uptake and accumulation in the tissues. For example, because of their rapid growth, tumours require high amounts of energy and thus require a lot of dextrose.

Modern technology supports animal protection

The new Micro-PET also contributes to reducing the number of experimental animals used to monitor the progress of disease treatments. Previously, it was necessary to kill experimental animals at different disease stages in order to be able to monitor disease progression.

Plans exist to use the new device for interdisciplinary studies on brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cardiac insufficiency and cancer. The Heidelberg scientists are also testing the effects of new therapies on tumour metabolism, tumour proliferation and vascularisation. They also plan to test new ligands for tumour-specific surface structures and assess the distribution and therapeutic effects of stem cells.

Source: University Hospital Heidelberg - 19.02.2008

Further information:
Professor Dr. Uwe Haberkorn
Medical Director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine
Hospital of Radiology at the University of Heidelberg
Tel.: +49 (0)6221 / 56 77 31 (Secretariat)
E-mail: Uwe.Haberkorn@med.uni-heidelberg.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/miniature-device-offers-great-opportunities