Form to function: current and future roles for atherosclerosis imaging in drug development

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Jun;7(6):517-29. doi: 10.1038/nrd2588. Epub 2008 May 16.


There is a pressing need for robust imaging markers to assist in the development of drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis. Conventional imaging methods provide quantitative and morphological data but may be inadequate for assessing a new generation of therapies that modify plaque biology directly. Here, we compare the main imaging modalities used to image atherosclerosis in the clinical-trial setting, and assess their ability to predict clinical outcomes for a given sample size. We consider how emerging molecular and cellular imaging techniques could offer the possibility to quantify changes in biological function at the level of the plaque, even without gross structural change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis* / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis* / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis* / pathology
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Hypolipidemic Agents