The past few decades have witnessed technical advances that have introduced cell biologists and physicians to a new, dynamic, subcellular world where genes and gene products can be visualized to interact in space and time and in health and disease. The accelerating field of molecular imaging has been critically dependent on indicator probes which show when and where genetically or biochemically defined molecules, signals or processes appear, interact and disappear, with high spatial and temporal resolution in living cells and whole organisms. For example, the use of radionuclide tracers combined with 3-dimensional (3-D) imaging systems such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) are now helping clinicians to characterize the molecular status of tumors deep within patients. Other types of imaging probes rely on the bioluminescence and fluorescence of genetically encoded proteins (originally found in fireflies and jellyfish, respectively) or entirely synthetic fluorochromes, or a combination of both. New powerful biological fluorescence microscopes provide the ability to study single molecules within single cells. Multiphoton confocal microscopy has been developed to allow for the capturing of high-resolution, 3-D images of living tissues that have been tagged with highly specific fluorophores.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - 2005|