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Clin Immunol. 2004 May;111(2):210-24.

Molecular imaging applications for immunology.

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Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The use of multimodality molecular imaging has recently facilitated the study of molecular and cellular events in living subjects in a noninvasive and repetitive manner to improve the diagnostic capability of traditional assays. The noninvasive imaging modalities utilized for both small animal and human imaging include positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT). Techniques specific to small-animal imaging include bioluminescent imaging (BIm) and fluorescent imaging (FIm). Molecular imaging permits the study of events within cells, the examination of cell trafficking patterns that relate to inflammatory diseases and metastases, and the ability to rapidly screen new drug treatments for distribution and effectiveness. In this paper, we will review the current field of molecular imaging assays (especially those utilizing PET and BIm modalities) and examine how they might impact animal models and human disease in the field of clinical immunology.

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