Image-driven pharmacokinetics: nanomedicine concentration across space and time

Nanomedicine (Lond). 2015;10(18):2861-79. doi: 10.2217/nnm.15.127. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers / analysis
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Nanomedicine / methods
  • Nanoparticles / analysis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Pharmacokinetics*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Drug Carriers
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations