Role of Molecular Imaging in Oncology. Molecular Imaging is an emerging technology for the early detection of disease, staging of the disease, and for monitoring response to therapy. It also offers a non-invasive method to detect in vivo biological functions and processes at a molecular level.
The use of high molecular weight probes such as radioactive antibodies is also equally attractive. While a major effort is placed on developing radioactive probes for PET and SPECT imaging, an intense effort is being focused on enhancing the utility of other MI modalities such as nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Computed Tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound.
There are now a large array of imaging technologies under the MI umbrella which include Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography and Positron Emission Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Computed Tomography, ultrasound, bioluminescence, and fluorescence imaging. Amongst the tools required for targeting diseased tissues to obtain clinically relevant information, the key is to match the optimal targeting molecule with the imaging modality of choice.
One of the most commonly used radiotracers in MI is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose, a compound approved by the FDA for clinical use. Since membrane glucose transporter expression increases significantly in rapidly dividing cancer cells, FDG enters these cells producing preferential uptake and phosphorylation of FDG and permitting clinically meaningful imaging of the tumor. Besides FDG, there have been many advances in developing new class of radiotracers to diagnose cancer and to interrogate certain neurological processes.
Cancer Stud Mol Med Open J. 2014; 1(1): e1-e7.doi: 10.17140/CSMMOJ-1-e001