Small-Animal Molecular Imaging for Preclinical Cancer Research: μPET and μSPECT

Author(s): Vincenzo Cuccurullo, Giuseppe D. Di Stasio, Maria L. Schillirò, Luigi Mansi

Journal Name: Current Radiopharmaceuticals

Volume 9 , Issue 2 , 2016

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Graphical Abstract:


Due to different sizes of humans and rodents, the performance of clinical imaging devices is not enough for a scientifically reliable evaluation in mice and rats; therefore dedicated small-animal systems with a much higher sensitivity and spatial resolution, compared to the ones used in humans, are required. Smallanimal imaging represents a cutting-edge research method able to approach an enormous variety of pathologies in which animal models of disease may be used to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the human condition and/or to allow a translational pharmacological (or other) evaluation of therapeutic tools. Molecular imaging, avoiding animal sacrifice, permits repetitive (i.e. longitudinal) studies on the same animal which becomes its own control. In this way also the over time evaluation of disease progression or of the treatment response is enabled. Many different rodent models have been applied to study almost all kind of human pathologies or to experiment a wide series of drugs and/or other therapeutic instruments. In particular, relevant information has been achieved in oncology by in vivo neoplastic phenotypes, obtained through procedures such as subcutaneous tumor grafts, surgical transplantation of solid tumor, orthotopic injection of tumor cells into specific organs/sites of interest, genetic modification of animals to promote tumor-genesis; in this way traditional or innovative treatments, also including gene therapy, of animals with a cancer induced by a known carcinogen may be experimented. Each model has its own disadvantage but, comparing different studies, it is possible to achieve a panoramic and therefore substantially reliable view on the specific subject. Small-animal molecular imaging has become an invaluable component of modern biomedical research that will gain probably an increasingly important role in the next few years.

Keywords: Small-animal imaging, molecular imaging, micro-PET, micro-SPECT.

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Article Details

Year: 2016
Published on: 27 October, 2015
Page: [103 - 113]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/1874471008666151027154148
Price: $65

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