While preclinical molecular imaging has been a consistent field of research over the past few years, the number of positive studies and continued funding has grown tremendously this past year—with greater expectations for 2012.
Even newer technologies are proving their worth. For instance, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association recently issued research, confirming that the NanoPET/CT system is of “significant value” in preclinical research.
“The scanner behaved in a stable fashion throughout all experiments, which were facilitated by the highly flexible data acquisition and readout,” the authors wrote. “The energy resolution and temporal resolution are comparable to those of other preclinical PET systems with a similar overall configuration.”
Designed to be compact and allow sequential PET and CT imaging in a single session for small animals, the NanoPET/CT is comprised of 12 detector modules split into groups of three and connected to four analog-to-digital converter cards, which then transfer data to a computer.
However, more traditional molecular imaging technologies also are finding new avenues of success. For example, one recent study showed that FDG PET could be used as a noninvasive surrogate marker for tumor growth and viability in the treatment of head and neck cancer.
The researchers sought to determine the therapeutic efficacy of 186Re–labeled PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin ( 186Re–liposomal doxorubicin) in combination with RF ablation of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) xenograft in nude rats.
They found that the tumor growth trend correlated with change in percentage of injected dose of FDG in tumor for all groups. Soundararajan et al also reported that the viable tumor volume was “significantly decreased” in the group treated with 186Re–liposomal doxorubicin plus RF ablation.
The success of preclinical molecular imaging also is evident by the sheer amount that various groups are willing to invest in research. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle have received a $7 million five-year renewal grant award from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to continue research on PET agents, and their impact on cancer therapy.
This research also is receiving support outside of the U.S., as the European Research Council recently awarded a team of researchers from the University of Southampton a €2.8 million ($3.6 million USD) grant to support research into enhanced nuclear magnetic resonance.
2012 promises to have new and improved preclinical imaging research that could ultimately result in improved clinical outcomes for patients worldwide.
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