SAN FRANCISCO, August 18 -- The Society for Molecular Imaging (SMI) reported a 100 percent increase in both attendance and accepted abstracts at its second annual meeting, which began here Friday. Abstracts focused on the diversity of ongoing research in the field and the impact of molecular imaging (MI) -- a scientific discipline less than 10 years in practice -- on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
"Developments in this field have accelerated over the past year, thanks to the rapid dissemination of the necessary tools and technologies, which have enabled molecular imaging to make the move from conceptual to clinical practice," said Christopher Contag, PhD, president of SMI. "Molecular imaging offers the potential to significantly advance our ability to detect disease, develop therapies and monitor treatment success in the body, and it's not five, 10 or 20 years down the road. It's already happening."
MI combines new molecular agents with traditional imaging tools to capture pictures of molecular pathways in the body, particularly those that are key targets in disease processes. The pictures are obtained in vivo (inside the body), which reveals information about cells and molecules. With these images, MI holds the unique potential to simultaneously find and diagnose a variety of diseases, as well as the ability to depict how well a particular treatment is working. MI is being investigated in oncology, cardiology and neurology, and advances will have a tremendous impact in the areas of gene therapy, stem cell biology and novel treatment strategies, SMI said.
Areas in which MI has advanced dramatically in the past year include improvements in clinical imaging, advances in molecular therapies and the ability to accelerate preclinical drug development.
The meeting ends today with a symposium on the roles of funding agencies and their requirements for awards. Summaries of scientific papers presented at the meeting are available at: www.molecularimaging.org