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Radiology. 2012 Jun;263(3):633-43. doi: 10.1148/radiol.12102394.

Molecular body imaging: MR imaging, CT, and US. part I. principles.

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Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Molecular imaging, generally defined as noninvasive imaging of cellular and subcellular events, has gained tremendous depth and breadth as a research and clinical discipline in recent years. The coalescence of major advances in engineering, molecular biology, chemistry, immunology, and genetics has fueled multi- and interdisciplinary innovations with the goal of driving clinical noninvasive imaging strategies that will ultimately allow disease identification, risk stratification, and monitoring of therapy effects with unparalleled sensitivity and specificity. Techniques that allow imaging of molecular and cellular events facilitate and go hand in hand with the development of molecular therapies, offering promise for successfully combining imaging with therapy. While traditionally nuclear medicine imaging techniques, in particular positron emission tomography (PET), PET combined with computed tomography (CT), and single photon emission computed tomography, have been the molecular imaging methods most familiar to clinicians, great advances have recently been made in developing imaging techniques that utilize magnetic resonance (MR), optical, CT, and ultrasonographic (US) imaging. In the first part of this review series, we present an overview of the principles of MR imaging-, CT-, and US-based molecular imaging strategies.

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