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Ten narrow-band extrication filters (30nm bandwidth) and 18 narrow-band emission filters (20nm bandwidth), along with spectral un-mixing algorithms read bioluminescent and fluorescent lights across the blue to near infrared wavelengths.
"The optics has a 23cm field of view, enough for five mice, with resolution to 20 microns," Oldfield says. "It can detect a single cell. In microscopy, that's no big deal, but with a whole animal, through the skin to a single cell, it is a big deal. With bioluminescence, you can detect a single cell within a single mouse."
Caliper's imaging technology requires fewer test animals and less time than other animal testing models, allowing more compounds to be tested for efficacy or toxic effects. Data can be collected from the same animal over multiple time points, and the response to treatment can be assessed without the need for measuring circulating markers.
By collecting data from intact, living animals, more accurate predictions can be made earlier in pre-clinical development as to how drug development candidates will perform in the clinic.
While the same work can be done with MRIs, BLI actually is more cost effective, Mason explains. "With bioluminescence, we can have a high school student do it with two hours of training. It's $5-$10 per data set and we can do multiple animals. With the MRI you get more detail, but the cost is so much higher.