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HSS Research Institute

Molecular Imaging in Orthopaedic Research

What is Molecular Imaging?

Molecular imaging is a powerful tool for the study of biology directly within living subjects. It provides a number of unique advantages over more traditional tools such as histology:

  • Non-Invasive
  • Real-Time
  • Physiological Conditions
  • Intact Tissue
  • Living Animal
  • Longitudinal and Quantitative Assessments
  • Complementary to Histology

The Imaging Core as part of the Musculoskeletal Repair and Regeneration Core Center at Hospital for Special Surgery will provide access to all major molecular imaging modalities for small animals (typically mice and rats):

  • Bioluminescence Imaging (BLI), Fluorescence Imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography (microPET)
  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
  • Computed Tomography (microCT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Spectroscopy (MRI/MRS)
  • Ultrasound (US)

This fee-based service is part of strategic partnership between the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Small Animal Imaging Resource Program/In Vivo Cellular Molecular Imaging Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

What applications of Molecular Imaging to bone and joint tissues have been described?

The table below indicates some of the reported Molecular Imaging applications. Molecular Imaging is useful primarily for imaging biology. Moreover, several Molecular Imaging modalities can also be used for small animal anatomical imaging (similar to clinical diagnostic imaging).

Biology  Tissue  Method
Gene Expression Bone, Joint Reporter Gene
Proteinase Activity Joint Probe
Cell Tracking Whole Body Contrast Agent, Radiopharmaceutical, Reporter Gene
Anatomy Modality  
Skeleton microCT   
Soft Tissue MRI US   

What to do if I am interested in using Molecular Imaging?

Please contact Philipp Mayer-Kuckuk (email: mayerkuckukp@hss.edu, phone: 212.606.1082) for additional information.

Note: Publications that include data generated using the services of the Imaging Core must acknowledge support through NIH AR046121.

Note: Several of the imaging modalities are considerable sophisticated or experimental. We encourage prospective users to contact us during the planning phase of their study to discuss the potential application of Molecular Imaging and plan the necessary logistics.