Molecular imaging’s might

Molecular imaging has made an impact in a diverse number of clinical arenas. No longer the new technology on the block, it has continued to flex its might in neuroimaging, cardiovascular imaging and oncology through a number of important research projects in 2012.

Take the study of Alzheimer disease, for example. Researchers continue to learn about the connection between amyloid plaques in the brain and cognitive decline. A study published in Neurology demonstrated that an amyloid-positive florbetapir PET scan could predict future cognitive decline, with higher standard uptake value ratios correlating with poorer scores on cognitive assessments.

At its annual meeting earlier this year, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) touted the potential for molecular imaging in differentiating dementias— which will be critical when it comes to applying emerging treatment strategies. (Another sign of the growing importance of molecular imaging? At that same meeting, SNMMI voted to officially include the words “Molecular Imaging” in its name.)

In cancer research, a molecular analysis was able to define four primary subtypes of breast cancers, while FDG uptake in the second week of radiotherapy for lung cancer patients was shown to predict two-year survival and could help individualize treatment.

The Journal of Nuclear Medicine also published research demonstrating PET’s value in cardiac imaging, as quantification of myocardial flow reserve with 13N-ammonia increased the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for detecting coronary artery disease compared with traditional perfusion imaging.

The power of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine will once again be on display at this year’s RSNA conference. The Health Imaging editorial staff has selected some sessions that we feel will be particularly valuable, and we hope you’ll check them out.

Be sure to visit our website during the conference from Nov. 25-30 as we’ll be updating it daily with live coverage from Chicago, and we’ll follow-up on the latest technologies in our e-newsletter and print edition following the show.

Hope to see you there!


Evan Godt, staff writer