Medical ImagingImaging Techniques for Pre-clinical and Clinical Applications

Published April 2010 Updated December 2010 13 lectures
Prof. David Townsend
University of Tennessee Medical Center, USA

Over the past few decades, medical imaging has played an important role in the diagnosis, staging, assessment and treatment of human disease. While the primary applications for such techniques have been clinically directed, imaging is increasingly finding a role in pre-clinical research and drug discovery and development. Thus, imaging has... read morebecome an essential component in many aspects of translational research, from evaluating the efficacy of biomarkers applied to pre-clinical models of disease through to the patients who will benefit from the development of targeted therapies. The potential of imaging to accelerate drug discovery and provide a cost-effective means of assessing efficacy is unparalleled and to a large extent underutilized.

Since the discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, non-invasive medical imaging techniques have primarily been based on ionizing radiation that can penetrate the human body. Exceptions are ultrasound (US) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging, and for certain applications optical techniques involving visible light. Primary medical imaging approaches that involve ionizing radiation include Computed Tomography (CT), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Recently, multimodality or hybrid instrumentation has become available that can image two (or more) modalities in a single device. These include PET/CT, SPECT/CT and MR/PET.