VisEn Medical has launched a new version of its fluorescence molecular tomography platform for small animal imaging, the FMT 2500.
Unlike many fluorescence imaging techniques, the FMT 2500 can provide quantitative measurements of the concentrations of proteins, enzymes or drug agents in vivo to allow a more detailed understanding of how a disease is developing or a drug reacting in the body.
Kirtland Poss, the CEO of VisEn Medical, claims the FMT 2500 builds on previous versions to provide better data with greater ease-of-use.
"Due to some breakthrough advances in the system design and FMT software algorithms, this new system generates unmatched data performance, without the need for any index matching fluid."
"With these performance advances and additional product design improvements, this new system brings the well-validated power of the FMT technology platform to the broader research markets."
According to Wael Yared, the chief technology officer of VisEn Medical, the system achieves its quantitative measurements using three steps to eliminate the effect of optical scattering in the tissue, which can reduce the fidelity of quantitative measurements .
Firstly, the animal is injected with a fluorescent marker that will produce light in the presence of the biological agent to be studied, and the FMT 2500 measures the intensity of this light to a very high resolution throughout the animal. The system then scans laser light through the animal, and measures the absorption of this light to the same resolution as the fluorescence detection.
The system uses this data in the second step, by normalising the measurements of the fluorescent light to take into account the amount of scattering observed with the laser light.
"It takes each measurement and corrects it to reduce the optical heterogeneity of the biological tissue," says Yared.
For the third step, these normalised readings are fed into a sophisticated reconstruction algorithm, which pieces the data together to provide the 3D distribution of the concentration of the biological agent, in real, physically understandable units. A key feature of the product's design is its ease of use, which has been designed for biologists rather than trained medical imagers.
Yared says that the only other way to gain this information would be vivisection and chemical analysis of the tissue samples. The imaging system reduces the cost and the time taken to produce this data. In addition, it also provides a better quality study, as you can analyse the progress of the agent throughout the lifetime of the same animal. Using vivisection, you would need to study different animals for each stage of the disease.
"The conceptual advantages go far beyond the cost advantage," he says. "You can observe and measure the agents in the natural environment, which is infinitely more complex. It is also more convenient, and less labour intensive."