Molecular imaging perspectives
Molecular imaging is an emerging technology at the life science/physical science interface which is set to revolutionize our understanding and treatment of disease. The tools of molecular imaging are the imaging modalities and their corresponding contrast agents. These facilitate interaction with a biological target at a molecular level in a number of ways. The diverse nature of molecular imaging requires knowledge from both the life and physical sciences for its successful development and implementation. The aim of this review is to introduce the subject of molecular imaging from both life science and physical science perspectives. However, we will restrict our coverage to the prominent in vivo molecular imaging modalities of magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging and nuclear imaging. The physical basis of these imaging modalities, the use of contrast agents and the imaging parameters of sensitivity, temporal resolution and spatial resolution are described. Then, the specificity of contrast agents for targeting and sensing molecular events, and some applications of molecular imaging in biology and medicine are given. Finally, the diverse nature of molecular imaging and its reliance on interdisciplinary collaboration is discussed.
Journal of the Royal Society Interface