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Science 312 (5777): 1168-1171

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Molecular Imaging in Cancer

Ralph Weissleder

Abstract: Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth over the past few decades and now play a central role in clinical oncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in the clinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imaging is at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agents expected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventional anatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow clinicians to not only see where a tumor is located in the body, but also to visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules (e.g., proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes (e.g., apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influence tumor behavior and/or response to therapy. This information is expected to have a major impact on cancer detection, individualized treatment, and drug development, as well as our understanding of how cancer arises.

Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.

E-mail: weissleder{at}helix.mgh.harvard.edu


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