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Optical Molecular Imaging

Optical Molecular Imaging techniques significantly accelerate clinical trials. With pre-clinical in-human data on a new drug, critical go/no-go decisions can be made before large investments are needed. With TRACER's unique optical imaging expertise clinical trials become more cost efficient and reach the market faster.

What is Optical Imaging?

Optical Molecular Imaging is an imaging modality that uses light for medical investigations. It obtains detailed images of tissues as well as smaller structures like cells and even molecules. The light used for optical imaging has a wavelength from the visible light spectrum into the near-infrared (NIR).

Innovative clinical fluorescent optical imaging emits light when stimulated by an external light source. The technique inherently covers mesoscopic (i.e. from macroscopic to microscopic) imaging. This makes it unique compared to X-ray, ultrasound, PET and MR imaging.

Fluorescence optical imaging visualization

Optical Imaging and microdosing techniques.

Over the last decade R&D innovation in NIR fluorescent optical imaging has grown rapidly. This growth is spurred by the creation of added value to clinical research applications for disease monitoring, tracer evaluation (i.e. image-guided surgery, pathology and endoscopy) and more recently drug development.

To lower the barrier for clinical use and provide fast and efficiently first-in-human in vivo and ex vivo mesoscopic imaging data, TRACER applies the FDA/EMA approved concept of microdosing for early phase Proof-of-Concept (Phase 0, PoC) studies. With microdosing extremely low, non-pharmacologically active doses of a fluorescent labeled drug are used to define the agent’s profile at the tissue level in humans.

In other words, TRACER provides early in-human data on whether the tested compound reaches the target tissue. This reduces drug development costs by avoiding large investments on non-efficient compounds in later clinical phases. It also reduces the time-to-market of the new drug with years.

The advantages in drug development.

Optical Imaging and microdosing techniques offer many great advantages over other radiological imaging techniques. Prominently, optical imaging significantly reduces patient exposure to harmful radiation. Instead non-ionizing radiation, which includes visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light is used. These types of light generate images by exciting electrons without causing the damage that can occur with ionizing radiation used in some other imaging techniques. Due to the safety and speed of optical imaging techniques, it can be used for lengthy and repeated procedures over time to monitor the progression of disease or the results of treatment. Other advantages of optical imaging and microdosing techniques include:

  • Optical imaging is particularly useful for visualizing soft tissues.
  • Because it can obtain images of structures across a wide range of sizes and types, optical imaging can be combined with other imaging techniques, such as MRI or x-rays, to provide enhanced information for doctors monitoring complex diseases or researchers working on intricate experiments.
  • By taking  advantage of the various colours of light in order to see and measure many different properties of an organ or tissue at the same time. Other imaging techniques are limited to just one or two measurements.

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