Bindley Bioscience Center

MILabs imaging instrument to help Purdue expand life sciences research

February 9, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Bindley Bioscience Center has installed a high-end imaging instrument to advance research in the areas of cancer, neuroscience, and cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases.

The MILabs U-SPECT-II/CT system, manufactured by MILabs B.V. of The Netherlands, will be used by researchers at the Discovery Park life sciences facility to capture detailed molecular and anatomical images for precision analysis, particularly for medical research.

"This advanced, state-of-the-art instrument will allow Purdue life science researchers to be able to take a snapshot in time to monitor the progression of disease and any therapeutic effect in a living animal," said Philip S. Low, the Ralph C. Corely Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue. "Importantly, this also provides researchers working with the Bindley Bioscience Center a sophisticated instrument that provides a specificity that you can't achieve with other current technology."

Low said the imaging tool will help Purdue researchers develop new diagnostic solutions and therapies for a wide spectrum of diseases, specifically in the areas of cancer, diabetes, depression and cardiac problems as well as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The instrument, valued at $800,000, is the first to be installed by MILabs at a North American research facility. It joins 12 others in operation worldwide, mostly in Europe and Asia, said Frederik Beekman, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer at MILabs. Measuring 4-by-9 feet, it will be located in Bindley's Bioscience Imaging Facility, which is led by Aaron Taylor.

"It is a great pleasure to have our device in operation at Purdue being used by highly distinguished researchers such as Professor Low and his team as well as other Purdue researchers affiliated with the Bindley Bioscience Center in Discovery Park," Beekman said. "I look forward to the next discoveries by Purdue scientists and their collaborators."

 MILabs, based in Utrecht, develops and markets imaging systems for preclinical biological and pharmaceutical research. Beekman, a professor at Delft University of Technology, launched the company after designing the first U-SPECT system for small animals with ultrahigh resolution. SPECT stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography.

"These scanners allow researchers to see how cells and organs function in unprecedented detail," Beekman said. "There are already more than 10 U-SPECTs around the globe, which can test new tracers and pharmaceuticals for cancer, cardiac problems and brain diseases."

To expand Purdue's disease research efforts, the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources awarded the Bindley Bioscience Center $14.9 million through a federal stimulus measure in April 2010 to establish the Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Facility.

The 29,000-square-foot Bindley expansion will house researchers to work on innovative animal models of disease, development of new therapeutics and in-vivo imaging. The $15 million Bindley Bioscience Center, which first opened to Discovery Park researchers in October 2005, will see its research space grow by 60 percent when the federally funded expansion is completed in 2013.

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