The role of positron emission tomography in the discovery and development of new drugs; As studied in laboratory animals
Drug discovery and development is time consuming and a costly procedure. The challenges for the pharmaceutical industry range from the evaluation of potential new drug candidates, the determination of drug pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, the measurement of receptor occupancy as a determinant of drug efficacy, and the pharmacological characterisation of mechanisms of action. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a powerful quantitative imaging technique for looking at biochemical pathways, molecular interactions, drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Recent advances in emission tomography, particularly the development of small animal PET scanners, image reconstruction and animal models of disease have led to the development of extremely sensitive and specific tools for imaging biochemical processes in vivo, therefore representing a new means of providing information for drug development and evaluation. Many human genes have a related mouse gene, allowing mice to be used as a platform for mimicking human disease, using knock-out and knock-in gene technology. Consequently PET imaging of rodents is emerging as a cost effective means of screening new pharmaceuticals and decreasing the time required for new drug development.
KeywordsPositron emission tomography drug development small animal imaging
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