Multimodal imaging has evolved as a key technology in preclinical research, combining morphological, functional, and molecular imaging. Near-infrared optical imaging enables precise and dynamic biodistribution studies, whereas the use of luciferases as reporter genes is successfully applied both in transgenic reporter animals and in cancer models.
To overcome the limitations of 2-D optical imaging, we apply optical tomographic imaging combined with contrast agent enhanced computed tomography and MRI. Applying these technologies, we could follow the biodistribution of nucleic acids and nanoparticles labeled with the near infrared-emitting fluorophores. Combing bioluminescence imaging with CT and/or MRI, we could demonstrate efficient transfection of tumor lesions and therapeutic response of individual tumor lesions after combined chemo and immunotherapy. Currently, we are developing a multimodal imaging approach by fusing MRI with tomographic optical imaging.