07:16am Wednesday 23 October 2019

Milestone in non-invasive diagnostics: combination of molecular and anatomical imaging for the first time enables non-invasive 360° scans

By combining x-ray computed tomography (XCT) and fluorescence molecular tomography* (FMT) they have been able to generate a 360° image. The combined use of these two proven procedures opens up great possibilities for non-invasive diagnostics, for example in lung cancer (published online, ahead of print, in the journal Nature Methods).

Milestone in non-invasive diagnostics: combination of molecular and anatomical imaging for the first time enables non-invasive 360° scans

Precise localization is important, particularly in the case of pathologically altered tissue. Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos and Prof. Martin Hrabé de Angelis and their staff from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich can now do this. By combining XCT and FMT imaging, they achieved much better results than with either method on its own, and were thus able to diagnose lung cancer in live mice and to observe bone growth.

“Thanks to this new development we can diagnose much more precisely where tissue changes have taken place,” says Prof. Ntziachristos, Head of the Institute for Medical Imaging at the Helmholtz Zentrum München und the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In the next steps, the scientists aim to further refine the in vivo method so that it can also be used in preclinical diagnosis of humans.


Further information


* X-ray computed tomography imaging (CT scan): a CT scan uses multiple takes x-ray images that are then compiled by a computer to create a three-dimensional image of the structures under examination
* Fluorescence tomography (FMT): with the aid of a fluorescent material that is administered, the distribution of the material in the tissue – and thus the organ itself – can be represented in a three-dimensional manner

The project (No. 201 792) was sponsored by the European Commission as part of the 7th Framework Program (FP7). For more information, please visit the website www.fmt-xct.eu

Original publication:
Ale A. et al. (2012). FMT-XCT: in vivo animal studies with hybrid fluorescence molecular tomography-X-ray computed tomography, Nature Methods, doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

Link to specialist publication:

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 1,900 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 31,000 staff members. www.helmholtz-muenchen.de

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of the leading universities in Europe. It has roughly 460 professors, 7,500 academic and non-academic staff (including those at the Rechts der Isar University teaching hospital)  and 26,000 students. It focuses on the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine and economic sciences. After winning numerous awards, it was named a Center of Excellence in 2006 by the Council of Science and Humanities, one of the leading science policy advisory bodies in Germany, and the DFG, the central, self-governing research-funding organization in Germany. TUM’s worldwide network also encompasses a research center in Singapore. TUM is committed to the idea of an entrepreneurial university. www.tum.de


Contact for media representatives

Sven Winkler, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg – Tel.: +49 89-3187-3946 – Fax: +49 89-3187-3324 – E-Mail: presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Specialist contact

Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH) / Technical University of Munich, Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Tel. +49 89 3187-3852, E-Mail: v.ntziachristos@tum.de

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