The Evolution of What?
Since the earth was born and man was created, there has been much evolution in the universe. Man, as a species, has evolved to what we are today (and we continue to evolve over time). This in itself is a complex topic, but perhaps we can reflect on an interesting aspect of evolution – with the evolution of man, brings sub-evolutions of man’s creations.
Think about that.
The vast majority of things man has created (whether it be mechanical, technical, industry, communications, even creation of fire and harnessing of light) have progressed through a multitude of evolutions of their own.
Humans have harnessed many ethereal mysteries and inventions and have developed these further over time into useful technologies. Prehistoric man discovered fire and the wheel (no details needed on how far those technologies have evolved). Early noble philosophers identified constellations in the heavens (progressed to our modern day telescopes). Hundreds of years ago medical practitioners identified the first single celled organisms (and now we can see functionality within cells). One of the progressions of microscopic and medical evolution (and one of the greatest medical advances of the twenty-first century) is molecular imaging.
Don’t change the page… this gets very interesting…
Molecular Imaging is the scientific term for something pretty cool, actually – utilizing various sources of light or energy, to see inside physical bodies, over time, down to the molecular level to literally ‘watch’ the functioning cells, organs, or entire organism.
But it’s WAY MORE THAN THAT.
We always need to look at molecular imaging with a functional, quantitative perspective. It’s like a is like a beach ball bouncing along the beach – always changing in shape and position over time. This is the same with molecules and functionality at the molecular level.
Another way to think about molecular imaging – the world never “is”, a point in time, a condition, or a clinical perspective … but rather a Heisenberg biology. Meaning, scientifically it’s impossible to know precisely where any atom / electron / molecule is at a pinpoint in time, so we need to assess positions over time.
Now that’s pretty deep. (Here’s some info on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle for all you closet quantum physics fans [and yes, I’m one of them]).
What does this mean?
It’s an ultra-modernized way to look at functionality within cells, organs, tissues, and whole organisms over time – using advanced imaging methods. Let’s call it the evolution of diagnoses and treatment, to start.
Major improvements in early detection and treatment of serious illnesses. Cancer death rates are steadily dropping by about 1% per year, and five-year survival rates are up to 66%.
But are these imaging techniques limited only to diagnosing and treating cancer? What other ways are doctors and scientists using this valuable technology? Read on to learn more about molecular imaging’s impact on the healthcare industry.
How Molecular Imaging Works
Because of its many uses, molecular imaging has evolved to become part of everyday healthcare. You may have heard of the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography) or SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) from various doctor appointments for loved ones. There’s several other techniques that are utilized during those critical steps of diagnosis and staging, such as near infrared imaging (NIRI), and optical imaging (OI), and many more other long-named analyses with short and spicy acronym-ed names.
And yes the scientific and medical communities are big fans of acronyms. Almost as much as the FDA. [insert chuckle here]
Advantages of Molecular Imaging
There are several advantages of imaging over other diagnostic techniques. While X-rays, ultrasound, and CT scans have their place, their functions are limited to anatomical pictures.
Molecular imaging takes everything one step further. It shows detailed biological and chemical processes occurring inside the body. OVER TIME. Better yet, it can detect cellular changes in the early part of the disease that wouldn’t show up on other scans.
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Molecular imaging is a technology that is utilized all along the drug development process – you might not be aware of this, but during pre-clinical stages, molecular imaging in small animals and non-human primates has become a radical staple in assessing molecular functionality with the intact organism – it’s not just cell culture anymore…
“At BioLaurus, we strive to bring you the most advanced methods of molecular imaging, in the most convenient way possible for YOU. The continuous evolution of this technology is unsurpassed, and we bring that to you, to meet or exceed your in-vivo study expectations.” – Mario Bourdon, CEO & CSO, BioLaurus, Inc.
With this insight, doctors can customize their treatment to suit the individual needs of the patient. It can also reduce the need for invasive diagnostic procedures like biopsies. Patients are happy to hear that these imaging procedures are safe and painless!
Molecular imaging also helps to assess and update treatment plans. Research shows that over 33% of patients have their treatment changed after the results of a PET scan. These procedures have already changed health care for the better. That’s something that everyone can be happy about!
The Future of Molecular Imaging
We definitely are far from the caveman days… Molecular Imaging is a success of evolution and can significantly change the direction and outcome of a patient’s care. It is also an invaluable tool for clinical trials and pharmaceutical research. As technology advances, doctors will be able to detect disease sooner (check out this cool article). As a result, medicine will become more proactive. There are even stipulations that Artificial Intelligence will become a part of our evolved technology (check this out). Who knows what is next to come in this amazing field of evolving technology.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! Feel free to express your thoughts below on Technology Evolution, Molecular Imaging, or other aspects of Pharmaceutical life.
If you’d like to learn more about preclinical imaging and how it affects you, feel free to visit the website of one of the experts quoted here – Mario Bourdon, President and CSO of BioLaurus. Check out the BioLaurus website.
BioLaurus is a company composed of In Vivo Preclinical Molecular Imaging Contract Research Specialists. We partner with clients to design and implement successful scientific studies and imaging assays. We are a new kind of contract research company focused on working collaboratively with you to provide solutions to the complex research challenges you face in drug discovery and translational research.
Kimberly Brue-Leone is an author, scientific writer and advisor, business development representative, and consultant to various great companies in the Life Sciences. Feel free to check out more on her LinkedIn profile.
2020 Vision: Fulfilling the Future of Clinical Research
Recent advances in proteomics, genomics and metabolomics have enabled us to understand the molecular basis of disease at both the diagnostic and treatment levels.