chapter  7
16 Pages

Genetic Approaches for Modulating MRI Contrast

Significant strides have been made in understanding the subcellular mechanisms of human disease, ushering in the age of molecular medicine. Molecular medicine encompasses diagnostics and treatments that are focused specifically on the proteomic and genetic levels. Although this field is still in its infancy, scientists have become increasingly adept at integrating clinical observations with the molecular basis of disease and treatment. Much of the remarkable progress in developing detailed insights into the molecular aspects of disease can be attributed to the rapid growth in biotechnology. The design and application of new research tools and methods have helped to bridge the gap between medical practice and basic science. Recombinant DNA methods, reverse genetics, gene amplification, and fluorescence imaging are examples of

in vitro

approaches to understand the human organism. These technologies have made possible the discovery of defective genes and their phenotypes, have improved methods for characterizing tissue pathology at a molecular level, and have aided in the design of transgenic animal models of human disease. The development of molecular imaging tools for use in the intact organism will surely play a vital role in our goal of understanding the genetic and biochemical basis of disease in its native environment.