Assessment of gene function following the completion of human genome sequencing can be performed with nuclear medicine procedures. These techniques may be applied for the determination of gene function and regulation using established and new tracers or using in vivo reporter genes such as genes encoding enzymes, receptors, antigens, or transporters. Visualization of in vivo reporter gene expression can be done using radiolabeled substrates, antibodies, or ligands. Combinations of specific promoters and in vivo reporter genes may deliver information about the regulation of the corresponding genes. The role of radiolabeled antisense molecules for the analysis of mRNA content has to be investigated. However, possible applications are therapeutic interventions using triplex oligonucleotides with therapeutic isotopes, which can be brought near to specific DNA sequences to induce DNA strand breaks at selected loci. Imaging of labeled siRNAs makes sense if these are used for therapeutic purposes in order to assess the delivery of these new drugs to their target tissue. Pharmacogenomics will identify new surrogate markers for therapy monitoring which may represent potential new tracers for imaging.
Keywords: gene transfer, gene expression, nuclear medicine, imaging, radionuclides
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