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Published February 9, 2021 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

High-speed three-dimensional photoacoustic computed tomography for preclinical research and clinical translation


Photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT) has generated increasing interest for uses in preclinical research and clinical translation. However, the imaging depth, speed, and quality of existing PACT systems have previously limited the potential applications of this technology. To overcome these issues, we developed a three-dimensional photoacoustic computed tomography (3D-PACT) system that features large imaging depth, scalable field of view with isotropic spatial resolution, high imaging speed, and superior image quality. 3D-PACT allows for multipurpose imaging to reveal detailed angiographic information in biological tissues ranging from the rodent brain to the human breast. In the rat brain, we visualize whole brain vasculatures and hemodynamics. In the human breast, an in vivo imaging depth of 4 cm is achieved by scanning the breast within a single breath hold of 10 s. Here, we introduce the 3D-PACT system to provide a unique tool for preclinical research and an appealing prototype for clinical translation.

Additional Information

© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received 10 July 2020; Accepted 15 January 2021; Published 09 February 2021. We thank Dr. Vassili Ivanov for useful discussions. This work was sponsored by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), R35 CA220436 (Outstanding Investigator Award), and U01 NS099717 (BRAIN2 Initiative). Data availability: All data are available within the Article and Supplementary Files, or available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Imaging data from in vivo experiments and study approvals issued by the IRB and IACUC are available in the online folder: https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/3D-PACT_Data_and_Codes/13114544. Code availability: The image reconstruction and processing algorithms are described in detail in Methods. The reconstruction code is not publicly available because the code is proprietary and is used in licensed technologies. Pseudo-code and description of the universal back-projection algorithm used in this study are provided in the Supplementary Methods. Imaging processing and analyzing programs are available in the corresponding data folders. Author Contributions: L.V.W. and L.L. conceived and designed the study. L.L., D.C.G., J.S. and K.M. constructed the hardware system. S.N., L.L. and X.Y. developed the control program. L.L. and X.T. performed the experiments. R.C. designed the functional rat brain imaging experiments and performed the skull-thinning surgery. P.H. developed the reconstruction algorithm. L.L., X.T. and P.H. analyzed the data. L.V.W. supervised the study. All authors wrote the manuscript. Competing interests: All the authors declare no competing interests. K.M. has a financial interest in MicroPhotoacoustics, Inc. L.V.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc., CalPACT, LLC, and Union Photoacoustic Technologies, Ltd., which, however, did not support this work. Peer review information: Nature Communications thanks Patrick Drew, Kun Wang and the other, anonymous, reviewer for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.

Attached Files

Published - s41467-021-21232-1.pdf

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM1_ESM.pdf

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM2_ESM.pdf

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM3_ESM.pdf

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM4_ESM.mp4

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM5_ESM.mp4

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM6_ESM.mp4

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM7_ESM.mp4

Supplemental Material - 41467_2021_21232_MOESM8_ESM.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023