Applications of Nanomaterials in Medical Procedures and Treatments

Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agents

Author(s): Dimitri Stanicki, Lionel Larbanoix, Sébastien Boutry, Robert N. Muller and Sophie Laurent *

Pp: 1-25 (25)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815136951123040003

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


As an emerging technology, molecular imaging combines advanced imaging technology with cellular and molecular biology to highlight physiological or pathological processes in living organisms at the cellular level. The main advantage of in vivo molecular imaging is its ability to characterize pathologies of diseased tissues without invasive biopsies or surgical procedures. Such technology provides great hope for personalized medicine and drug development, as it can potentially detect diseases in early stages (screening), identify the extent of a disease/anomaly, help to apply directed therapy, or measure the molecular-specific effects of a given treatment. Molecular imaging requires the combination of high-resolution/sensitive instruments with targeted imaging agents that correlate the signal with a given molecular event. In ongoing preclinical studies, new molecular targets, which are characteristic of given diseases, have been identified, and as a consequence, sophisticated multifunctional probes are in perpetual development. In this context, the discovery of new emerging chemical technologies and nanotechnology has stimulated the discovery of innovative compounds, such as multimodal molecular imaging probes, which are multiplex systems that combine targeting moieties with molecules detectable by different imaging modalities. 

Keywords: Contrast agents, Diagnostic, Drug delivery, Imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Molecular imaging, MRI, Nanoparticles, Nuclear medicine, Optical imaging, PET, Polymers, SPECT, Targeting, Theragnostic, Therapy, Ultrasounds.

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