Future Molecular Imaging (1 CME Point)
The complexity of biological processes, as well as their tightly controlled regulation, attracts researchers from a wide range of scientific fields. Such multiplexity is apparent in almost every aspect of life, in health and disease, from enzymatic activity to protein-protein interactions, from metal ion homeostasis to cell function, from gene expression to neuronal activity, or from gene networks to disease onsets and therapeutics mechanisms. Although our accumulated knowledge can shed light on many aspects of these processes, many still need to be discovered, are unknown, or cannot be studied in an intact live organism. MRI, with its unlimited tissue penetration capabilities and ability to combine information from biological targets with high-resolution anatomical images, has been transformed into a valuable imaging technology for molecular and cellular imaging. Moreover, the versatility of MRI contrast mechanisms, ranging from water relaxation to chemical exchange, and the variability in imaging probe identities (including non-1H tracers), as well as their stability and long shelf lives, create numerous possibilities for the design of MRI sensors. Such versatility provides capabilities for imaging probe designs of various types (small molecules, polymers, proteins, or nanoparticles), for various targets, and for multiplexed imaging by exploiting the chemical shift encodability of several types of MRI. In this talk, I will summarize our recent work on the development and implementation of novel molecular formulations (small molecules, nanocrystals, supramolecular assemblies, and proteins) for in vivo molecular and cellular MR imaging. These molecular probes extend the MRI toolbox with features that have thus far been inaccessible. Importantly, the paradigms used to develop the formulations presented here lay the foundation for further designs and should allow a better understanding of unexplored biological phenomena.
1. To describe how MRI, which is used for anatomical imaging, can also be used for molecular imaging.
2. To describe how different molecular probes of various types (small molecules, nanoparticles, and proteins) can be used for molecular MR imaging.
3. To describe the basic principles of “multicolor” MRI and demonstrate different applications in imaging inflammation and reporter genes expression.