Cancer detection in intact animal. 23 g mouse, 300 mCi 18F-labeled PSMA, tumor on left side. Credit: SAIRP / JHU
Recent advances in materials science and in vivo molecular imaging have been the catalyst for an explosion in molecular imaging research. The use of nanodevices and nanoparticles has enabled the study of a wide variety of biological phenomena ranging from protein-protein interaction mapping to cancer detection in intact animals and man.
Key to those advances has been the emergence of functionalized nanoparticles which can be targeted specifically to molecules of biological importance such as receptors, enzymes and transporters, and have the ability to interact at the cellular level. Over the last five years there has also been a proliferation of high-resolution devices for in vivo imaging in animal models of human disease and high-throughput, such as microarray- and combinatorial-, techniques which are used to generate new targets and probes for diagnostics and therapeutics.