Imaging Tumors in Mice

Characterization of oncogenesis and therapeutic response in the mouse is becoming more tractable in light of new high-resolution imaging technologies available for small animal studies (71,72). These imaging technologies include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, positron-emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), fluorescence-mediated molecular tomography (FMT), fluorescence reflectance imaging (FRI), and bioluminescent imaging (BLI) (Fig. 1) (72). These approaches can be used to assess both efficacy and pharmacologic properties of therapeutics. For example, quantitative PET can be used to monitor drug biodistribution, and various imaging approaches can be used to determine whether a drug reaches its target, affects function of the target, and exhibits efficacy (72). Importantly, many of these imaging technologies are used in the diagnosis and observation of human cancer patients. As a result, observations made in mouse models can be rapidly translated into an understanding of cellular and molecular events in human cancers.

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