Innovation in molecular imaging

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Published: 16 May 2012
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Prof Hedvig Hricak – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Prof Hedvig Hricak talks to ecancer about molecular imaging at the European Forum on Oncology in Berlin, May 2012.

The development of molecular imaging is essential for advancing precision medicine.Tissue biomarkers provide essential information about cancer genetics and other details of tumor biology; however, they depend on limited samples.


As has been recently documented, tremendous biological heterogeneity exists within primary lesions, and tumor metastases dedifferentiate. Molecular imaging allows in vivo, non-invasive assessment of biomarkers throughout the entire primary tumour and all metastatic sites. Therefore, it is especially important for developing and implementing predictive biomarkers for determining whether a particular therapy is likely to work in an individual patient or for monitoring treatment response, and it can reveal differences in treatment response among different disease sites. In the laboratory and the clinic, molecular imaging is providing key insights into intra- and intertumoral biological heterogeneity. 


Prof Hricak discusses the role of molecular imaging in precision medicine, providing some specific examples of techniques now in use and touching on emerging concepts such as integrated diagnostics and theranostics.