Molecular Imaging

This new technique promises to help track and see disease long before it becomes a serious illness is a relatively new art and technology in the field of science.

Unlike convention X-rays or the more high-tech PET scans this new camera device that is used in conjunction with dyes and drugs doesnít just see large things, but can see right down to the cellular level.

In the near future with the aid of computers and DNA mapping it may be possible to find the point of origin for a cancerous tumor when only the first few cells are beginning to form, making it possible to do low invasive, micro-surgery to remove the bad tissue area before the disease has a change to spread over a wide area.

It will also make the study of disease etymology (thatís the nature and evolution of the disease) far better, allowing scientists to see if some pattern exists in the formation of diseased cells.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri is one of the medical groups on the forefront of this new technology that is still very much in the experimental stages.

Siemens, Philips and GE are among the private companies investing billions into working with this new process by developing imaging cameras and drugs to help tag the cells for observation.

Once readily available you can expect the process to be quite expensive and many health plans or HMOís will not even cover this new technology for several years until it is no longer an experimental process. Right now PET (which works on emissions of positrons, which are a small atomic particle) and CAT scans are still too expensive for most uses.

There will also only be a few devices around the world in the initial stages and with any new device there may be hidden risks that only become uncovered long after use, which can be an unfortunate situation for those people who used the process, but this is how science works.

By the year 2010 molecular imaging may be a routine way of life for the family doctor to keep track of just how healthy your family is!

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