ESMI Study Group on Standardization of Small Animal Imaging - STANDARD

Non-invasive in vivo small animal imaging plays a pivotal role in biomedical and pharmaceutical research areas. This is due to the many key benefits that imaging has over conventional methods: protocols and results are easily translated to clinical studies and diagnosis in patients, longitudinal measurements can be performed on the same animal, one analysis can provide a multiplicity of molecular and functional parameters, and the number and stress of the animals can be dramatically reduced. Unfortunately, individual imaging procedures are not standardized. Sometimes even within one institution, many results cannot be compared because they depend on different complex factors such as anesthesia, animal handling, physiological parameters, data acquisition, and analysis. These factors can greatly influence the outcome of experiments, but are in general controllable and thus to a certain degree avoidable. Both the animal well-being, as well as, pharmaceutical and biomedical basic research, would benefit from standardized imaging protocols. Comparability of results and defined standard operation procedures (SOPs) would prevent duplicate studies and consequently contribute to refinement and reduction. The aim of this study group is to standardize imaging protocols in a way that comparable results can be gained within different labs or provide reference methods that can be used to establish comparable imaging protocols.


As a first step, the study group will focus on the standardization of small animal PET imaging (comparison of different vendors, scanner setups, etc.) along with the respective data analysis and animal handling. Further on, subgroups for different modalities within the study group will be founded that focus on e.g., MRI, CT or OI and the respective standardization for each of the modalities.