Molecular optical imaging: Applications leading to the development of present day therapeutics
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A number of advances in the molecular imaging field have led to the sensing of specific molecular targets and pathways in living animals. In the optical imaging field, these include the designing of biocompatible near-infrared fluorochromes, development of targeted and activatable “smart” imaging probes, and engineering of activatable fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins. The current advances in molecular optical imaging will help in early disease diagnoses, functioning of a number of pathways and finally help speed drug discovery. In this review, we will describe the near infrared fluorescent and bioluminescence imaging modalities and how these techniques have been employed in current research. Furthermore, we will also shed some light on the use of these imaging modalities in neurotherapeutics, for example imaging different parameters of vector-mediated gene expression in glioma tumors and stem cell trackingin vivo.