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Curr Opin Immunol. 2003 Aug;15(4):378-84.

Micro-PET imaging and small animal models of disease.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Biology Institute, Crump Institute and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 90095, USA.


Positron emission tomography (PET) has been used clinically to measure enzyme reactions, ligand-receptor interactions, cellular metabolism and cell proliferation. Until recently, however, PET has not been suitable for small animal models because of resolution limitations. Development of micro-PET instrumentation for small animal imaging and the availability of positron-emitting tracers has made this technology accessible for the non-invasive, quantitative and repetitive imaging of biological function in living animals. The development of new probes and positron-imaging based reporter genes has extended micro-PET applications to investigations of metabolism, enzyme activity, receptor-ligand interactions, protein-protein interactions, gene expression, adoptive cell therapy and somatic gene therapy. Because small animal PET is immediately extrapolatable to the clinic, laboratory advances should rapidly be translated to clinical practice.

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