Unleash the positive power of positron visualisation


February 25, 2005

Positron emission tomography, Pet, is said to be the fastest-growing imaging modality in the US today. Michael Phelps and Michel Ter-Pogossian were key pioneers in developing the Pet technique. This book reflects the value of this procedure from the point of view of physics and instrumentation. It also highlights its clinical value and the considerable interest in its use in so-called molecular imaging.

According to Phelps, the editor, this book can be used as a textbook and as a reference. Although it claims to be targeted primarily at radiologists, it will probably find a larger audience among physicists and clinicians working in nuclear medicine. One hopes that it also comes into the hands of biologists and other bioscientists working on imaging methods applied to the study of in vivo biochemistry, in particular the molecular and genetic basis of disease.

The book has seven chapters, each written by a subject expert. Under the guidance of Phelps, the writers have produced a successful text that can be highly recommended, even if it is relatively expensive (perhaps as a result of the abundant use of colour illustrations).

The first chapter is from Simon Cherry (who was educated at University College London and at the Institute of Cancer Research, London). It is an excellent and comprehensive study of Pet physics and instrumentation that also includes a section about small-animal scanners, on which Cherry is a world authority. This chapter by itself would constitute an excellent textbook.

The second chapter is by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, director of the molecular imaging programme at Stanford University. It, too, is outstanding. It contains much useful information about techniques for visualising gene expression by Pet imaging.

Nagichettiar Satyamurthy develops the subject with respect to isotope generators, and Jorge Barrio considers pharmacology and the development of suitable biochemical probes in a key chapter on the molecular basis of disease.

The three major clinical applications of Pet are in oncology (covered in a chapter by Johanes Czernin), cardiology (discussed by Heirich Schelbert) and the treatment of the brain (Daniel Silverman). The considerable clinical impact of these applications is illustrated by their value in the follow-up of patients with lung cancer. The clinical case for the use of Pet is well established by the contributors.

This book presents the state of the art in (Pet-based) molecular imaging and the value of such methods, which will help revolutionise therapy in the so-called post-genome age. It should be of interest not just to specialists in molecular imaging, but also to anyone interested in the rapidly evolving topic of the synthesis of imaging, modelling and molecular biology. Indeed, it should certainly interest the young radiologists who are starting to develop revolutionary techniques in the fast-changing field of medical imaging.

Andrew Todd-Pokropek is professor of medical physics, University College London.

PET: Molecular Imaging and Its Biological Applications

Editor - Michael E. Phelps
Publisher - Springer
Pages - 612
Price - £154.00
ISBN - 0 387 40359 0

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