Preclinical molecular imaging provides answers

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Preclinical molecular imaging is a powerful tool to answer challenging questions in drug development or in new imaging agent development before they can be utilized in humans.

The market for molecular imaging devices is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2014 with a 5.8 percent yearly increase, according to a market research report from Kalorama Information. And, the adoption of molecular imaging equipment is not exclusive to physicians. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies also are utilizing molecular imaging equipment, as it allows them to test drug candidates in preclinical models.

There is also significant preclinical development and testing involved before new molecular imaging agents are used in human studies. The Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database, developed by National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health, currently has a total 865 molecular imaging and contrast agents listed that are under development, in clinical trials or commercially available for medical applications—all of which have in vivo data (animal or human) published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

In other features, researchers from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have created multi-modality (fluorescence+MRI) nanosized probes capable of noninvasively visualizing and quantifying the blood vessel growth in tumor-bearing mice. This offers opportunities for early detection of solid tumors and non-invasive post-therapy assessment of antiangiogenic drugs.

In the quest for new dyes that can monitor biological activities in real time as well as amplify signal, scientists from Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have developed new fluoromodules that are five- to seven-times brighter than enhanced green fluorescent protein, by coupling malachite green with another dye, cyanine-3, in a complex the researchers called dyedron.

Also, in this edition, a review published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, highlighted the importance of FDG PET animal studies in understanding mechanisms of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

On these topics or others, please feel free to contact me.

Manjula Puthenedam