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Preparing Molecular Imaging's Future

Executive Summary

Diagnostic imaging systems such as CT/PET and MR/PET, which bring together in vivo anatomical and functional information in the same device or at the same workstation, offer a real opportunity for expanding the clinical utility of molecular imaging. But to drive adoption of these new combination systems will require data showing that their use changes therapeutic decision-making. For the most part, these data are at least several years away, with most of the work today in cancer, where in vivo imaging has been shown to better evaluate tumor type, guide radiation therapy, and change chemotherapy management. In the meantime, suppliers of imaging equipment to hospitals and research institutions are collaborating with academics and companies that are developing new radiotracers and other molecular probes. Such moves are not typical for these organizations, which, like IVD companies, traditionally have placed their bets on selling products into mature markets, rather than innovative R&D-oriented projects.

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