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Volume 35, Issue 8, August 2008
- VISION 20/20
35(2008); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.2948321View Description Hide Description
Molecular imaging (MI) constitutes a recently developed approach of imaging, where modalities and agents have been reinvented and used in novel combinations in order to expose and measure biologic processes occurring at molecular and cellular levels. It is an approach that bridges the gap between modalities acquiring data from high (e.g., computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron-emitting isotopes) and low (e.g., PCR, microarrays) levels of a biological organization. While data integration methodologies will lead to improved diagnostic and prognostic performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, triggered by MI, will result in a better perception of the underlying biological mechanisms. Toward the development of a unifying theory describing these mechanisms, medical physicists can formulate new hypotheses, provide the physical constraints bounding them, and consequently design appropriate experiments. Their new scientific and working environment calls for interventions in their syllabi to educate scientists with enhanced capabilities for holistic views and synthesis.