Scanners Get a Fix on Lab Animals

Science  17 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5448, pp. 2261-2263
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2261

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Thanks to new probes that give off a detectable signal when they encounter specific molecules, medical imaging is now beginning to shine a spotlight on particular molecular events within cells, such as illuminating when genes get turned on or when a cancer cell turns malignant. Because the probes--like drugs--can be tested more easily in animals than in people, researchers and imaging companies are now rushing to develop scanners able to see fine detail in rats, mice, and other small animals. These purpose-built machines with improved resolution are allowing researchers to monitor novel drugs in vivo and watch gene expression, without wielding a scalpel.