Introduction to Turku BioImaging key technologies (see the Turku BioImaging Black Book for more information).
PET & MRI
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive method for imaging human biochemical and physiological processes in vivo. Minute amounts of biologically active compounds labeled with positron-emitting radionuclides are administered to subjects. The temporal and spatial distribution of these tracers within the body are visualized and measured using PET. Positron-emitting radionuclides are usually produced in cyclotrons. Short-lived (T½= 2-110 min) radionuclides are then incorporated into molecules of interest using sophisticated radiochemical syntheses. Because of the short half-lives of positron emitters, the syntheses must be very rapid. Tracers are delivered to the subject, usually by injection, and a PET scan is performed. Images are reconstructed as tomographic images by mathematical processing of data. PET can be used to study for instance tissue function and metabolism, the functions of neurotransmitters and receptors, gene expression, and drug pharmacokinetics and dynamics. Turku BioImaging includes the Turku PET Centre, which performs both human and animal PET imaging and PET probe production.
Micro-Computed Tomography (Micro-CT) is a method whereby X-ray computed tomography affords resolution on a micrometer scale. Micro-CT images can be used for volumetric analysis of scanned samples and three-dimensional image reconstruction. The spatial location of every voxel (a three-dimensional pixel) can be geometrically calculated from the images. Resolution of such images is, at best, on the micrometer scale, depending on sample size. The smaller the sample, the better the resolution. Micro-CT is strictly an ex vivo technique, used principally for analysis of bone samples as part of basic research in bone biology, and in the study of various implant materials developed to correct defects in bone. In addition, micro-CT can be applied to soft tissues, which, naturally, are of varying densities. Vasculature can be visualized after perfusion of a radiocontrast agent after sacrifice of the animal. Turku BioImaging offers a TBI Skyscan for Micro-CT imaging.
Small animal ultrasound imaging
Ultrasound scanning is a technique used to visualize tissues and organs inside the body. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of different structures inside the body that can be distinguished from each other by their different acoustic properties. When ultrasound waves are directed into the body, some are absorbed by body tissues and others bounce back. The sound waves that reflect back can be measured by the ultrasound machine. Compared to many other imaging modalities, ultrasound is considered harmless and safe. The method can be applied on a large scale to translational animal studies from cardiovascular research, cancer biology, developmental biology and ophthalmology to reproductive biology and beyond. Turku BioImaging offers a VisualSonics ultrasound biomicroscopy device, capable of an almost revolutionary resolution of 30 microns.