If you would like to request sample datasets please email info@marsbioimaging.com.

Measure multiple contrast agents simultaneously


CT has traditionally been limited to the use of a single contrast agent per scan. Spectral CT gives researchers a tool that can quantify a number of contrast agents as well as intrinsic markers such as lipid, bone and soft tissue. Tracking multiple biomarkers simultaneously provides a way to monitor multiple processes non-invasively.

Available data sets include mouse data and phantom data.

  • R. Panta, et al., (2018).  Element-specific spectral imaging of multiple contrast agents: a phantom study. Journal of Instrumentation. 13 T02001. Read paper.
  • M. Moghiseh, et al., (2016). Discrimination of Multiple High-Z Materials by Multi-Energy Spectral CT– A Phantom Study. JSM Biomed Imaging Data Pap 3(1): 1007. Read paper.
  • N. Anderson, et al., (2010). Spectroscopic (multi-energy) CT distinguishes iodine and barium contrast material in MICE. European Radiology, vol. 20, pp. 2126–2134. Read paper.
  • R .K. Roeder, et al., (2017). Probes for Molecular Imaging with Computed Tomography and Application to Cancer Imaging. Proc. SPIE, 10132, 101320X. Read paper.

A mouse model of multiple contrast agents

Gold nanoparticles located in the lungs, iodine found in the bladder and kidneys, and gadolinium in the stomach and intestines. Soft tissues are identified in blue and bones in white.

A new way to image cancer


Imaging specific binding of antibody-gold nanoparticle complexes in vitro

(a), (b), (c) calibration standards of gold chloride
(d) Ovarian cancer cells incubated with gold nanoparticles targeted to a surface marker of ovarian cancer (Rituximab)
(e) Ovarian cancer cells with gold nanoparticles targeted to breast cancer (Herceptin)

MARS scanning opens the door to targeted imaging probes on CT.

Knowing whether an antibody-based treatment has reached its target tissue can be difficult. MARS spectral CT offers a method to track nanoparticles, allowing preclinical researchers to have confidence that their treatment has reached their target cells.

  • M. Moghiseh, et al., (2018). Spectral photon-counting Molecular Imaging for Quantification of Monoclonal Antibody-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles Targeted to Lymphoma and Breast Cancer: An In Vitro StudyContrast media & molecular imaging. Read paper.

  • Better characterization of tumors 
  • Better monitoring of drug delivery
  • Develop targeted imaging probes

Lighting up tumor neovascularization using nanoparticles

A tumor was placed under the flank of the animal. Small gold nanoparticles (5 nm) were injected. The non-functionalized nanoparticles accumulate in areas of neovascularization (e.g. tumors) where vessels are leakier.

Case Study

Case Study: researchers at the University of Notre Dame have successfully targeted breast microcalcification using modified gold nanoparticles in a mouse model. MARS scanning of excised tissue showed co-localization of the gold nanoparticles and microcalcification.

  • R. Roeder, (2017). Nanoparticle imaging probes for molecular imaging with computed tomography and application to cancer imaging. Vol. 10132, p. 101320X. International Society for Optics and Photonics. DOI: Read paper.

Better soft tissue discrimination


Spectral imaging provides better soft tissue contrast than is available with traditional x-ray systems. This enables imaging and distinguishing pathological features of cardiovascular disease at high spatial resolution, for example the components of atherosclerotic plaque. Alternatively it can be used to better characterize muscles, bone and fat.

Downloadable data set of lamb meat.

  • H. Prebble, et al., (2018). Induced macrophage activation in live excised atherosclerotic plaque. Immunobiology, vol. 223, no. 8-9, p. 526-535. Read paper.
  • R. Aamir, et al., (2005). MARS spectral molecular imaging of lamb tissue: data collection and image analysis. Journal of Instrumentation, vol. 9, no. 02, p. P02005. Read paper.

Profiles of lipid (beige), calcium (white) and soft tissue (red) in lamb steak (left) and excised atherosclerotic plaque (right).

Bone structural and material information in a single scan


MARS enables both structural, and material information to be measured simultaneously. This means that bone mineralization or bone densitometry can be measured within bone sites as well as architectural features such as cortical thickness, trabecular thickness, and trabecular spacing. Furthermore, some biomarkers of cartilage health can be measured including early measures of osteoarthritis.

Downloadable data sets include metallic scaffolds.

  • M. R. Amma, et al., (2019). Assessment of metal implant induced artefacts using photon counting spectral CT. In Developments in X-Ray Tomography XII. Vol. 11113, p. 111131D. International Society for Optics and Photonics. DOI: Read paper.
  • M. Ramyar, et al., (2017). Establishing a method to measure bone structure using spectral CT. SPIE Medical Imaging. DOI: 10.1117/12.2255616. Read paper.
  • M. Ramyar, et al., (2017). Establishing a method to measure bone density using spectral CT. Published by the European Congress of Radiology. Read paper.
  • K. Rajendran et al., (2014). Reducing beam hardening and metal artefacts in spectral CT using Medipix3RX. Journal of Instrumentation, Vol. 9 P03015. Read paper.

Reduced metal artifacts


Photon-processing technology, as well as in-house algorithms lead to a reduction in artifacts caused by metal bone implants. The image to the left shows a 3D MARS image of a sheep knee with a titanium screw. The soft tissue (skin, muscle) is displayed as pink/brown, bone as blue/white, and the titanium screw as yellow. Similarly, the image on the right shows a sheep clavicle (white) with a titanium plate and screws, displayed in green.