The role of molecular imaging in drug discovery and development

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Feb;83(2):349-53. doi: 10.1038/sj.clpt.6100467. Epub 2008 Jan 2.


Molecular imaging biomarkers are playing an increasingly important role in efforts to increase the probability of success of drug candidates by helping to validate novel drug targets in support of proof-of-concept testing early in the drug discovery and development process. By facilitating better and faster decision-making, molecule and mechanism-based failures can be identified and eliminated from a research portfolio early in development thereby focusing research efforts on the best drug candidates and therapeutic hypotheses. Molecular imaging can be used to improve the cost-effectiveness of studying unprecedented mechanisms, decrease cycle time, and improve drug pipeline quality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological / analysis*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System Agents / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnostic Imaging* / methods
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Patient Selection
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical* / methods
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Central Nervous System Agents