Montreal makes it molecular

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The World Molecular Imaging Congress opened this week in Montreal with a slew of scientific sessions that promised to scintillate all but the most jaded of clinical and investigative research palettes.

Representatives from Academy of Molecular Imaging, the Society for Molecular Imaging, the European Society for Molecular Imaging and the Federation of Asian Societies for Molecular Imaging worked together to develop a scientific program that integrates developments in imaging technologies and molecular imaging agents with applications for drug development, basic science investigations and clinical translation.

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, keynote speaker Roger Y. Tsien, PhD, spoke with journalists about his current research on enzymatically amplified targeting that can deliver both optical and MR contrast agents.

Tsien, a 2008 Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry, is well-known for developing colorful dyes, such as Fura-2, to track the movement of calcium within cells and has genetically modified organisms to produce the molecules that make jellyfish and corals glow. These multicolored fluorescent proteins are used by scientists to track where and when certain genes are expressed in cells or in whole organisms.

As September winds into October we head into breast cancer awareness month. Scientists and clinicians at the University of California, Davis, have been working on a new molecular imaging device that may represent a quantum leap in breast cancer imaging.

Developers at the institution have created a dual-head PET camera paired with a cone-beam CT integrated on a single rotating gantry. Unlike other positron-based breast imaging devices, the UC Davis modality is able to acquire fully 3D tomographic images of the breast as well as high-resolution PET data.

While clinical trials have only recently begun, the initial results from the system appear promising, although more research will be required to determine if systems such as this can play a useful role in the clinical management of patients with breast cancer.

If you’re looking to add another course to this month’s molecular imaging buffet, head over to Molecular Imaging Insight. Our cover story on the worldwide shortage of molybdenum looks at alternatives to the critical isotope, and is “must” reading for anyone involved in the practice of nuclear medicine.

In addition, our latest issue offers a variety of cutting-edge articles on topics such as optical imaging, PET/MRI systems and the roadblocks to FDG-PET dementia imaging.

In other news, if you want to find out more about the possibilities for molecular imaging in your practice, head over to our Healthcare TechGuide and check out the variety of systems offered there.

Lastly, if you have a comment or report to share about the utilization of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine in your practice, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor