Techniques in molecular imaging have developed from stand alone modalities to multimodality methods. Among these, the combination of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) is a successful imaging method and has become an important tool in clinical practice. Technological approaches that combine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with diffuse optical tomography (DOT), fluorescence tomography (FT) and PET have now been introduced. PET/MRI and the resulting combination of molecular, morphological and functional information will pave the way for a better understanding of physiological and disease mechanisms in preclinical and clinical settings.
“Initial PET-MRI failed to show superiority against PET fused with CT, the standard in that field to detect some cancer and associated metastatic disease” – acknowledged Thomas Schindler MD, Director of Cardiovascular Nuclear Medicine at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore. Yet, PET-MRI may be a winning combination and gold standard for evaluating various heart diseases and disorders, including ischaemic and hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, cardiac sarcoid involvement, myocarditis, and so on. “In the cardiovascular domain, we are now able to vision both anatomy and function,” says Prof. Schindler, adding that both types of information are needed to make a decision as to whether it is worth doing the revascularisation, or whether it is better to pursue conservative medical treatment.
Currently there are precious few groups who have started clinical research in this domain, and the only published works remain feasibility studies and do not provide clinical outcome data, that would allow more definite conclusions and contribute its embracement in society recommendations and guidelines.