Design and construction of a smart cage for animal handling for PET imaging

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Mosaferchi, Ghazaleh
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Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine imaging technique that allows quantitative evaluation of positron emitting radioactive tracers injected into a subject. In both clinical and research settings, the most commonly used radiotracer for PET imaging is the glucose analog [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). The central strength and challenge in PET imaging is that the resulting image is of the biodistribution of the radioactively labelled tracer, rather than simply an image of anatomy. This means that biological factors can greatly influence both the appearance and quantification of the PET image, especially for FDG since it is a marker of glucose metabolism. These effective factors include fasting, anesthesia and warming the animal’s body in animal PET imaging. In addition, the animals’ health status must be monitored after imaging. A significant cost in routine small animal PET imaging is the labour associated with the imaging procedures. These animal centre labour costs can be reduced through use of automation and remote monitoring. We see that there is an unmet need for a better approach to animal preparation and monitoring post-procedure and developed a ‘Smart Cage’. This Smart Cage facilitates animal handling for PET imaging by using an automated food removal unit and remote monitoring of the mouse with visible light and night vision camera. We hypothesize that technology of this type can reduce variability in scan results and reduce animal technician costs associated with scanning. Consequently, we designed and constructed the hardware required for the Smart Cage and implemented an initial version of software to control and network the cage.
Smart cage, Animal handling, PET imaging, Internet of things