Core Facilities

Imaging Network and Informatics Core

The Imaging Network and Informatics Core will facilitate the collection, aggregation, storage, analysis and distribution of image data for the Cancer Imaging Network of Texas (CIN-TX) and the Clinical Trials Network of Texas (CTN-TX). The goals of the core are to:

  • Standardize imaging protocols across institutions and instrument platforms
  • Provide reliable system validation
  • Establish quality control guidelines
  • Harmonize image processing, unify report generation
  • Manage meta-data and provide imaging related data archiving.

These processes will apply to human and experimental animal data acquired in CIN-TX supported protocols.

MD Anderson Core Facilities

Product Development and Evaluation Core

The mission of the Product Development and Evaluation Core is to translate novel imaging agents discovered by CIN-TX institutions into clinical trials through investigational new drug (IND) applications. The following tasks will be accomplished in the core:

  • Conduct pre-clinical characterization of drug candidates
  • Develop and validate final radiochemistry synthesis under cGMP
  • Conduct nonhuman primate imaging studies to obtain dosimetry, pharmacokinetics, metabolites, and safety information
  • Develop pre-clinical GLP toxicology protocols and manage the toxicology studies
  • Develop clinical trial protocols
  • Develop SOPs/policies and ensure their enforcement to be fully compliant with federal, state, and institutional laws, regulations, and rules
  • Write investigational new drug (IND) applications for FDA’s permission to conduct clinical trials
  • Process and evaluate clinical trial data for research objectives

Small Animal Imaging Facility

The Small Animal Imaging Facility at MD Anderson is an institutional core resource available to all MD Anderson investigators. The faculty and staff of the program maintain resources to the highest technical degree while continually bringing new technologies into use.

Core administration as well as engineering and veterinary laboratories are in a contiguous space of approximately 1,200 sq. ft. The Experimental Animal Imaging Laboratory consists of approximately 250 sq. ft. dedicated to animal positioning and support equipment. Rodents used in imaging studies are anesthetized and immobilized for imaging using custom designed multistation inhalation anesthesia administration and scavenging units developed in-house to administer 1-5% isoflurane for anesthesia induction and maintenance. Rodents are imaged in custom designed imaging sleds which facilitate expeditious accurate positioning. The veterinary support staff for the SACIRF includes a board-certified veterinary pathologist who provides imaging pathology support.

The Methodist Hospital Research Institute Core Facilities

The Methodist Hospital Research Institute’s new research building, Translational Research Building 1 (TRB1), is under construction with an expected opening date of August 1, 2010.

Cyclotron-Radiochemistry Facility

The Cyclotron-Radiochemistry Facility will be equipped with one PETtrace 8 Cyclotron (GE Healthcare) and eight CGMP-compliant hot cells. The cyclotron and hot cells are necessary to allow for the use of PET imaging agents labeled with short-lived positron emitting radionuclides such as carbon-11, nitrogen-13, and oxygen-15. The hot cells are connected to the cyclotron through fixed, built-in shielded pipelines. Each hot cell is designed to synthesize one PET reagent. Since multiple PET reagents will be used in the planned studies at TMHRI, multiple hot cells are usually needed.

The interior build-out of this facility began in March of 2009 and will be completed by August 1, 2010.This construction project will vastly increase the research capabilities of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI) and the Gulf Coast region by establishing a research facility with state-of-the-art molecular imaging equipment to be performed in small and large animals or humans.


The CGMP Core for imaging and therapeutic agent synthesis at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute will be located on the twelfth floor of TRB1. The facility is a 6,000 sq. ft. laboratory for the aseptic synthesis of sterile, Clinical Phase II solutions for injection. It is anticipated that these medicaments will consist of either non-radioactive, non-biological small molecules (i.e., synthetic chemicals or small peptides) in solution or small molecules in nano-scale delivery systems such as liposomes. The intended use of the products produced by the cGMP facility of TMHRI will be solely for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. This cGMP facility is partially funded by the Department of Defense specifically for nanomedicine development.

Clinical Imaging Core

The Clinical Imaging Core at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute will be on level 1 of TRB1 and consist of 13,621 sq. ft. of dedicated imaging space for preclinical and clinical research studies (Figure 2). The Molecular Imaging Center (MIC) at TMHRI includes a 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Philips Achieva 3.0T Quasr Dual 16 Ch Stationary MRI) scanner, Positron Emitting Tomography/Computed Tomography (Philips Gemini TF 64 PET/CT) scanner, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Computed Tomography (Philips Precedence 16-slice SPECT/CT) scanner, and Digital X-ray modalities. Radionuclide manufacturing will take place on-site with a cyclotron and multiple hot cells located underneath the imaging center. The hot cell lab suite includes quality control and chemistry analysis labs. The MIC facility includes support laboratories for chemistry analysis, animal preparation, and a Digitally Immersive Visualization Environment (DIVE) room for preparation and presentation of three dimensional (3D) representations of molecular structures acquired by and overlayed from the various imaging platforms. In addition to the imaging equipment located in TRB1 there is two additional PET/CT scanners within the Methodist Hospital which are also available for clinical research use.

Pre-Clinical Imaging Facilities

The Methodist Hospital Research Institute Small Animal Imaging Core is located in the Fondren 5th floor secure laboratory area. The core consists of an operation suite within the rodent vivarium facility and three imaging modules that are adjacent to the rodent vivarium facility. The first module houses a multimodality preclinical scanner (Siemens Inveon) for integrated small animal-dedicated micro-PET, SPECT and CT imaging. A Xenogen/Caliper IVIS-200 bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging system.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Core Facilities

Preclinical Nuclear Imaging Laboratory

In recent years, UT Southwestern has invested heavily in PET imaging and radiochemistry as witnessed by the following newly established Preclinical Nuclear Imaging and Radiochemistry facility. Drs. Sun, Anderson and Oz have been working closely for the site design, construction, instrument purchases and installations (acceptance and testing), research project development, as well as the daily maintenance. A solid team of themselves and their crew has been in place for the nuclear imaging endeavor of UT Southwestern.

Clinical PET/CT Core Facility

The PET Facility (NE2) is on the ground floor of the Clements Imaging Building. It consists of 4,000 sq. ft. and includes three imaging rooms, four injection rooms, a hot lab, two reading rooms, offices and restrooms. The PET scanner presently installed is the Siemens/CTI ECAT EXACT HR+ (Figure 8). The system includes two UltraSPARC workstations. These systems are DICOM compliant and allow sending of images to other sites for viewing and further analysis. This scanner is considered the optimal one available for brain imaging, which it can perform in both the2D and 3D modes with axial resolution of 3.9 mm. The PET-CT scanner is a Siemens Biograph 64 PET/CT scanner. This system is capable of simultaneous acquisition of PET and CT images. There are two multimodality workstations for fusion reading of the scans. We are able to access images performed elsewhere on campus through a Siemens PACS system and are able to import images into the multimodality workstations for fusing with PET images. F18 Deoxyglucose for routine clinical imaging is purchased from a nearby radiopharmacy (PETNet).

Clinical PET Imaging

Almost 2,000 clinical PET and PET CT examinations were performed last year at the UT Southwestern PET Imaging Services. Approximately $500K was spent in purchasing commercially produced FDG last year. PET-CT imaging averages about 10 patients/ day, but can accommodate up to 15 patients/ day at the current technical staffing level. The PET only scanner is used for brain imaging and is available virtually all day.

PET Translational Imaging Laboratory

PET Translational Imaging Laboratory (PTI Lab; NE3.108) is on the 3rd Floor of the Clements Imaging Building. It is immediately next to the Preclinical Nuclear Imaging Lab (NE3.112) where the Inveon PET-CT scanner is located.

The University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio Core Facilities

Cyclotron-Radiochemistry CGMP Facility

The Cyclotron-Radiochemistry Core is hosted by the Research Imaging Institute (RII). The RII occupies 34,000 sq ft of research-dedicated space in the McDermott Clinical Sciences Building and is divided by activity into: 1) Cyclotron, Radiochemistry and Radiopharmacy (7,000 sq ft); 2) Clinical Imaging Suites (7,000 sq ft); 3) Vivarium and Animal Imaging Suites (10,000); 4) Offices and Support Laboratories (10,000 sq ft). Activites 1-3 are on the 1st floor; Activity 4 is on the 2nd floor. This facility was recently expanded by the addition of the Ruth Bowman Bowers Cyclotron, a 3,300 sq ft facility housing a new Siemens Eclipse cyclotron, a commercial production facility, a radiopharmacy, and a research production facility.

Clinical Imaging Core

The Clinical Imaging Core is hosted by the Research Imaging Institute (RII). The RII occupies 34,000 sq ft of research-dedicated space in the McDermott Clinical Sciences Building and is divided into: 1) Cyclotron, Radiochemistry and Radiopharmacy (7,000 sq ft); 2) Clinical Imaging Suites (7,000 sq ft); 3) Vivarium and Animal Imaging Suites (10,000); 4) Offices and Support Laboratories (10,000 sq ft).

Resources for Participating Researchers

For information about the CIN-TX Sharepoint site, please contact Karen Yoas at

Related Departments and Labs