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Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growthover the past few decades and now play a central role in clinicaloncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in theclinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imagingis at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agentsexpected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventionalanatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow cliniciansto not only see where a tumor is located in the body, but alsoto visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules(e.g., proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes(e.g., apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influencetumor behavior and/or response to therapy. This informationis expected to have a major impact on cancer detection, individualizedtreatment, and drug development, as well as our understandingof how cancer arises.
Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
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