Molecular Imaging Takes Center Stage

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

Molecular is radiology’s rising star, a point evidenced by its central role at the 97th Annual Meeting & Scientific Assembly of the RSNA. The New Horizons lecture, for example, dives into PET/MR, 7T MRI and more. With a dizzying array of sessions dedicated to molecular imaging, business intelligence is key. Scroll down for Health Imaging's top picks for RSNA sessions in molecular imaging and read on for a quick review of 2011 highlights in molecular imaging. Also, be sure to subscribe to our monthly molecular imaging portal to stay on top of these issues throughout the year.

In June, the FDA delivered major news to the molecular imaging community and approved Siemens Healthcare Biograph mMR PET/MR system. As early adopters nab Siemens' system, as well as GE and Philips PET/MR scanners, researchers are exploring a host of potential applications. Health Imaging outlined the promise and possibilities in our November issue.

Alzheimer’s disease represents an intriguing possibility, both for PET/MR and other molecular imaging modalities. Studies published in 2011 detailed the value of FDG-PET, which may provide a quantitative measure to detect progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and diffusion-weighted MRI, which could offer a way to provide patient-specific estimates of the risk of converting from MCI to AD. Additional research demonstrated that PET enabled researchers to view increases in beta-amyloid uptake of florbetapir F18, which could provide clues into the biological nature of AD.

Molecular imaging also shows tremendous promise in a host of oncology applications, and may offer the Holy Grail in terms of better defining and targeting treatment, which, by definition, optimizes healthcare resources and spending. A host of studies have investigated a broad spectrum of applications and outlined roles for molecular imaging in major cancer targets such as breast and lung cancers.

For example, researchers have suggested that 18F-FDG uptake values measured by positron emission mammography (PEM) serve as prognostic indicators that predict breast cancer survival and inform clinical management, including receptor status, tumor histology and tumor grade. Similarly, physicians could leverage data from diffusion-weighted MRI to spare patients from unnecessary lung cancer surgeries.

Read on for Health Imaging’s top picks for RSNA sessions, subscribe to our portal and let us know how molecular imaging is advancing your practice. And finally, be sure to make the most of RSNA.

Lisa Fratt
Editor of Health Imaging