Molecular imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth during the past two decades, providing noninvasive and quantitative imaging of biological and biochemical processes within intact living subject. Conventional anatomical imaging techniques such as X-ray computed tomography (XCT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can offer detailed anatomical structures but are weak in providing physiological information. Primary functional imaging modalities including radionuclide imaging and optical imaging are able to offer high-sensitive molecular information but suffer from poor spatial resolution. Improvements in overall imaging performance can be achieved by combining the strengths of different imaging modalities. These combinations, such as radionuclide/XCT, radionuclide/MRI, optical/XCT, optical/MRI, and optical/radionuclide, are expected to have a significant impact on disease detection, treatment planning, and drug development. Here, the review summarizes the recent developments in multi-modality molecular imaging, and highlights their applications in preclinical and clinical researches.
Keywords: Molecular imaging, Multi-modality, Anatomical imaging, Functional imaging, Tomographic reconstruction.