JUNE 9, 2009--Conventional medical imaging devices such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound can detect abnormal tissue. Yet they provide little insight into whether a suspicious lesion may be malignant or benign, much less how best to treat the disease.
As our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease evolves and therapies become more sophisticated, both doctors and medical researchers require images that reveal how living tissue functions, especially on a molecular level. Such images would not only advance the understanding of disease and aid in developing new therapies, but also help identify appropriate treatments for a particular patient and provide rapid-response monitoring of the treatment's efficacy.
The recent introduction of fluorescent probes targeted to specific molecular processes is a significant move toward this goal and has facilitated development of devices capable of imaging drugs in living tissue.
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