Clinical pharmacokinetics (PK) primarily measures the concentration of drugs in the blood. For nanomedicines it may be more relevant to determine concentration within a target tissue. The emerging field of image-driven PK, which utilizes clinically accepted molecular imaging technology, empirically and noninvasively, measures concentration in multiple tissues. Image-driven PK represents the intersection of PK and biodistribution, combining to provide models of concentration across space and time. Image-driven PK can be used both as a research tool and in the clinic. This review explores the history of pharmacokinetics, technologies used in molecular imaging (especially positron emission tomography) and research using image-driven pharmacokinetic analysis. When standardized, image-driven PK may have significant implications in preclinical development as well as clinical optimization of targeted nanomedicines.
Keywords: biodistribution; image-driven; molecular imaging; pharmacokinetics; positron emission tomography.