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Minerva Biotecnologica 2009 June;21(2):123-34

language: English

Technical and methodological issues in preclinical imaging with PET and SPECT

Lecchi M. 1,2, Belloli S. 3,4,5, Moresco R. M. 3,4,5, Lui R. 1,2, Del Sole A. 1,2, Fazio F. 3,4, Lucignani G. 1,2

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies Section of Radiological Sciences University of Milan, Milan, Italy
2 Unit of Nuclear Medicine San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy
3 Nuclear Medicine Department and PET Centre San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
4 University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
5 IBFM-CNR, Milan, Italy


Small-animal positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission tomography (SPECT) are invaluable tools in drug discovery and in assessing novel therapeutic agents. In a typical small-animal PET or SPECT imaging session, a radiopharmaceutical is administered and the kinetics of its distribution tracked. Whereas the PET and SPECT protocols for the radiotraceras used in clinical practice are well established, at least for the radiotracers that are used in clinical practice, the acquisition, reconstruction and data analysis procedures applied in small rodents are heterogeneous among centres, often being determined by the scanner characteristics and by the animal models and anaesthesia procedures used in the laboratory. This review, intended to serve as a guide to preclinical PET and SPECT experiments, aims to familiarise the reader with the aspects of PET and SPECT that pertain to in vivo preclinical acquisitions and, in particular, with the technical and methodological know-how that is needed for better application of radionuclide imaging techniques in preclinical cancer research.

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