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Mol Ther. 2007 Sep;15(9):1579-86. Epub 2007 Jun 19.

Non-invasive Imaging in Gene Therapy.

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Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.

Erratum in

  • Mol Ther. 2007 Nov;15(11):2052. Jumani Airenne, Kari [corrected to Airenne, Kari Juhani].


Several methods are available for non-invasive imaging of gene delivery and transgene expression, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single photon emission tomography (SPECT)/positron emission tomography (PET), and fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging. However, these imaging modalities differ greatly in terms of their sensitivity, cost, and ability to measure the signal. Whereas MRI can produce a resolution of approximately 50 mum, optical imaging achieves only 3-5 mm but outperforms MRI in terms of the cost of the imaging device. Similarly, SPECT and PET give a resolution of only 1-2 mm but provide for relatively easy quantitation of the signal and need only nanograms of probe, compared with the microgram or milligram levels required for MRI and optical imaging. To develop safer and more efficient gene delivery vectors, it is essential to perform rigorous in vivo experiments, to image particle biodistribution and transduction patterns, and to quantify the transgene expression profile. Differences between modalities have a significant effect on the resultant imaging resolution for gene therapy. This review describes the methodologies in use and highlights recent key approaches using the latest imaging modalities in gene therapy. Future trends in gene therapy imaging are also discussed.

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