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What Is Molecular Imaging

What is molecular imaging?

Molecular imaging can be defined as a noninvasive, real-time visualization of biochemical events at a cellular and molecular level within living cells, tissue and intact subjects. Molecular imaging usually involves specialized equipment that may either be used alone or with targeted imaging agents to view tissue characteristics. Data generated from molecular imaging studies can be used to help understand various biological phenomena, identify areas of pathology and provide new information on the way different diseases work. The use of molecular imaging is still a fairly young field, but it is showing a lot of potential in areas like diagnostics, therapy monitoring and drug discovery and development amongst other things. Molecular imaging covers a multitude of areas in the fields of medicine and research, but for the average person it is probably most recognized for its use on living subjects. In addition, you may find more information about cardiology research fellowship by visiting our site.

What is molecular imaging used for in living subjects?

Nuclear medicine and molecular imaging has strong ties to nuclear medicine. The use of a gamma camera which involves the use of a targeted imaging agent, is considered molecular imaging and the slight radioactive property of the imaging agent gives it a nuclear medicine tie. The same is true of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET). Now newer techniques in molecular imaging have been developed that don’t use a radioactive atom. Some of these are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), photo acoustics (PA), and computed tomography (CT). Some of the desirable attributes of molecular imaging due to its noninvasive nature, are;

  • It allows the study of biochemical processes over time without interfering with the process.
  • Allows the investigation of intact signaling and transduction pathways in real time
  • Rapid information concerning the effect of different pharmaceuticals can be obtained to evaluate the potential of different therapies.
  • Repeat studies are possible on the same animals

Cardiovascular molecular imaging

Molecular imaging has many uses in the cardiovascular field. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and most European countries and is hard to detect. Molecular imaging research in the early detection of cardiovascular disease is expanding and shows promise. Research into drug therapies to treat cardiovascular disease has also shown success. What is molecular imaging future possibilities in the cardiovascular field? That is a question that can’t be specifically answered. However as molecular imaging program development occurs and more physicians become versed in multi-modality molecular imaging it will be increasingly beneficial. Research is likely to improve on current specialized equipment as well as give rise to new equipment. New targeting imaging agents will also be developed. As a new field, molecular imaging is already proving extremely beneficial. The future while not clear, is sure to hold many exciting developments.