BACKGROUND: The impact of constantly developing molecular sciences on the various imaging modalities (particularly nuclear, magnetic resonance-based, optical techniques) has produced the beginning of a new complex science – the molecular imaging – that, through the exploitation of specific molecule-probes instead of nonspecific conventional contrast materials, is aimed at the characterization of the tumor-related molecular abnormalities, to adopt innovative targeted therapeutic measures, even at the genetic level.
OBJECTIVES: Aim for this review is to focus on recent significant accomplishments of different molecular imaging modalities moreover outlining the challenges of current theranostic developments.
EMERGING KNOWLEDGES: The spatial resolution of almost all imaging techniques is more and more increasing, so that some experimental in vivo imaging modalities can allow an extremely detailed three-dimensional resolution. From the constant developments of molecular biology it follows that, instead of relatively gross conventional diagnostic criteria on malignancies (anatomic location and size, surrounding tissue involvement, distant spread), more specific molecular imaging parameters might be adopted – such as tumor cell kinetics, genetic alterations, variety of involved growth factors – to reach, by innovative targeted drugs and biological agents, therapeutic effects at the molecular level. In animal models – particularly in cancer xenografts – the molecular imaging, through the resort to SIAFS (small animal imaging facilities), allows in vivo thorough investigations on the tumor development-related mechanisms, furthermore improving the research on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of newly developed drugs.
CONCLUSIONS: Current applications of molecular imaging are due to its capability of both in vivo identifying tumor early molecular abnormalities and monitoring personalized therapies. Foreseeably the research advances will tremendously expand in the near future, particularly considering that simultaneous both imaging- and therapy implications of the theranostics can improve, to the highest degree, the potential of molecular imaging.Free PDF Download
To cite this article
From molecular imaging in preclinical/clinical oncology to theranostic applications in targeted tumor therapy
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 16 - N. 14