Illustrating Molecular Events with Light: A Perspective on Optical Reporter Genes
A major medical success achieved in the last century was the decline of the overall mortality rate of cancer patients by providing high-quality medical care. Many groundbreaking discoveries along with imaging formed the base of this achievement in modern medicine. Noninvasive molecular imaging using small animals is a relatively recent field as compared to clinical imaging in biomedical science. Rapid development in imaging strategies and imaging instrumentations quickly brought this field to the forefront of modern medicine and is now contributing to the development of the very basic steps of clinical imaging. Noninvasive molecular imaging can be categorized into direct and indirect imaging. Theoretically, indirect imaging involves reporter genes that after introduction in cells or animals indirectly measure the expression of an endogenous gene or promoter, while direct imaging engages those molecular probes that attempt to monitor a specific molecular process (e.g., receptor/ligand binding) in living cells or animals.
KeywordsReporter Gene Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Bioluminescence Imaging Cell Trafficking Fluorescence Imaging System
The author sincerely acknowledges the mentorship, guidance, and encouragement from Prof. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir throughout her research in this exciting field of molecular imaging. The author further wishes to express her gratitude to Drs. Abhijit De and Drs. Shariar Yaghoubi for their help and for the critical review of the manuscript and thanks all of her colleagues at Stanford and UCLA for their help and support.
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