Optical imaging: current applications and future directions

J Nucl Med. 2008 Jan;49(1):1-4. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.107.045799. Epub 2007 Dec 12.


Optical techniques, such as bioluminescence and fluorescence, are emerging as powerful new modalities for molecular imaging in disease and therapy. Combining innovative molecular biology and chemistry, researchers have developed optical methods for imaging a variety of cellular and molecular processes in vivo, including protein interactions, protein degradation, and protease activity. Whereas optical imaging has been used primarily for research in small-animal models, there are several areas in which optical molecular imaging will translate to clinical medicine. In this review, we summarize recent advances in optical techniques for molecular imaging and the potential impact for clinical medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Medicine / methods*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnostic Imaging / instrumentation
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Fluorescence
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction
  • Software
  • Tomography, Optical / instrumentation
  • Tomography, Optical / methods


  • Contrast Media
  • Peptide Hydrolases