Blueprint for imaging in biomedical research

Richard L. Ehman, William R. Hendee, Michael J. Welch, N. Reed Dunnick, Linda B. Bresolin, Ronald L. Arenson, Stanley Baum, Hedvig Hricak, James H. Thrall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Research in biomedical imaging and bioengineering is yielding remarkable capabilities for unraveling the complexity of biologic systems, eliminating long-standing barriers in basic medical science, and providing powerful new tools to improve health care. 1. Imaging encompasses more than any one discipline or any one level of analysis. It brings together researchers from many disciplines to address unmet needs and advance discovery. 2. Interdisciplinary research teams that foster pathways for progress across the discovery-development-delivery continuum of biomedical research are crucial. 3. Government support of research in biomedical imaging is critical to the growth of new knowledge in the biomedical sciences. 4. There is a need for scientific societies to collaborate with industry and the different federal agencies to develop standards for quantitative measurements for drug response, by using anatomic, functional, and molecular imaging methods. 5. The ability of imaging technology to interrogate at the cellular level has facilitated investigations about fundamental biological processes, as well as specific disease pathophysiology. 6. The ability of MR imaging techniques to enable identification of areas of increased neuronal activity in the brain has opened the field of functional brain mapping as an important approach to the study of brain function, including cognition. 7. US imaging is a versatile technology that continues to advance in many areas, including the development of novel contrast agents that will offer unique capabilities to probe biological systems. 8. Optical imaging probes that respond to cellular activity and emit near-infrared wave lengths offer the ability to track molecular activity within the cell. 9. Engineering advances in electron microscopy continue to push the limits of spatial resolution. Tomographic techniques have been developed to allow three-dimensional imaging at cellular and molecular levels. 10. Fusion imaging, led by PET/CT scanners, combines the functional properties of radionuclide imaging with the detailed anatomic imaging of CT. Other combinations of imaging modalities promise further enhancements to improve our ability to predict the biologic behavior of tissue. 11. The development of new imaging probes - radiopharmaceuticals, microbubbles, nanoparticles, and reporter molecules - will enhance the scope and specificity of imaging technologies. 12. The dramatic increasing in imaging data generated by imaging technologies has been made possible by improvements in computational capacity. More powerful algorithms for extracting information from the raw data must be developed. 13. In preclinical translational research, imaging can enhance the use of animal models for validating new targeted probes and illuminating key physiologic differences between animal models and humans. 14. Biomedical imaging can identify surrogate endpoints that, when combined with computational simulations, will predict the effectiveness of a therapeutic approach much earlier than traditional clinical trials, thereby reducing the costs and shortening the time to the delivery of effective agents into the marketplace. 15. Imaging has become essential not only for the detection and monitoring of disease but also for intervention. Methods of acquiring, analyzing, and displaying this information in real time during the intervention must be improved. 16. Methods to assess the effect of imaging on patient outcomes are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-27
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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