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Molecular Imaging for Breast Cancer Using Magnetic Resonance-guided Positron Emission Mammography and Excitation-resolved Near-infrared Fluorescence Imaging


The aim of this work is to develop novel breast-specific molecular imaging techniques for management of breast cancer. In this dissertation, we describe two novel molecular imaging approaches for breast cancer management.

In Part I, we introduce our multimodal molecular imaging approach for breast cancer therapy monitoring using magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission mammography (MR/PEM). We have focused on the therapy monitoring technique for aggressive cancer molecular subtypes, which is challenging due to time constraint. Breast cancer therapy planning relies on a fast and accurate monitoring of functional and anatomical change. We demonstrate a proof-of-concept of sequential dual-modal magnetic resonance and positron emission mammography (MR/PEM) for the cancer therapy monitoring. We have developed dedicated breast coils with breast compression mechanism equipped with MR-compatible PEM detector heads. We have designed a fiducial marker that allows straightforward image registration of data obtained from MRI and PEM. We propose an optimal multimodal imaging procedure for MR/PEM.

In Part II, we have focused on the development of a novel intraoperative near-infrared fluorescence imaging system (NIRF) for image-guided breast cancer surgery. Conventional spectrally-resolved NIRF systems are unable to resolve various NIR fluorescence dyes for the following reasons. First, the fluorescence spectra of viable NIR fluorescence dyes are heavily overlapping. Second, conventional emission-resolved NIRF suffers from a trade-off between the fluence rate and the spectral resolution. Third, the multiple scattering in tissue degrades not only the spatial information but also the spectral contents by the red-shift. We develop a wavelength-swept laser-based NIRF system that can resolve the excitation shift of various NIR fluorescence dyes without substantial loss of the fluence rate. A linear ratiometric model is employed to measure the relative shift of the excitation spectrum of a fluorescence dye.

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