Experimental Imaging Center

Cerenkov and radioluminescence imaging



Antonello Spinelli


The main goal of the R&D unit is the development of novel imaging methods based on Cerenkov and Radioluminescence imaging (RLI). Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) is a recent molecular imaging method based on the detection of Cerenkov radiation (in the visible range) induced in the tissue by beta particles (both positrons or electrons) as they travel with a velocity higher than the speed of light in the tissue. This condition is satisfied by several isotopes used in nuclear medicine or research applications. RLI allows the imaging with optical methods of a large variety of radioisotopes including not just beta but also alpha and gamma emitters. The main advantages of CLI and RLI are the intrinsic flexibility in terms of radiopharmaceuticals that could be imaged and, at the same time, the simplicity and affordability of optical imaging methods.

Research activity

CLI and RLI were successfully applied on several small animal in vivo studies and also in humans for imaging the thyroid and to estimate the tumor resection margins. An idea under development is also the use of CLI and RLI during surgery for real time tumor detection. The R&D unit is also active in collaborating with industries a recent project focuses on the use of RLI for real time entrance dose measurements during radiotherapy. Our optical imaging approach can be implemented in the clinical routine allowing a more accurate and reproducible radiotherapy treatments.