For medical research, approximately 115 million animals are needed every year. Rodents are used to test possible applications and procedures for the diagnosis of anatomical and physiological diseases. However, working with living animals increases the complexity of an experiment. Accurate experimental planning is essential in order to fulfill the 3R rules (replace, reduce and refine). Especially in tracer-based imaging modalities, such as magnetic particle imaging (MPI), where only nanoparticles give a positive contrast, the anatomical structure of the rodent is not visible without co-registration with another imaging modality. This leads to problems in the experimental planning, as parameters, such as field of view, rodent position and tracer concentration, have to be determined without visual feedback. In this work, a 3D CAD rat model is presented, which can be used to improve the experiment planning and thus reduce the number of animals required. It was determined using an anatomy atlas and 3D printed with stereolithography. The resulting model contains the most important organs and vessels as hollow cavities. By filling these with appropriate tracer materials, the phantom can be used in different imaging modalities such as MPI, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). In a first MPI measurement, the phantom was filled with superparamagnetic nanoparticles. Finally, a successful visualization of all organs and vessels of the phantom was possible. This enables the planning of the experiment and the optimization of experimental parameters for a region of interest, where certain organs in a living animal are localized.
© 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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