Malignant disease is the final manifestation of complex molecular and cellular events leading to uncontrolled cellular proliferation and eventually tissue destruction and metastases. While the in vitro examination of cultured tumour cells permits the molecular dissection of early pathways in tumorigenesis on cellular and subcellular levels, only interrogation of these processes within the complexity of organ systems of the living animal can reveal the full range of pathophysiological changes that occur in neoplastic disease. Such analyses require technologies that facilitate the study of biological processes in vivo, and several approaches have been developed over the last few years. These strategies, in the nascent field of in vivo molecular and cellular imaging, combine molecular biology with imaging modalities as a means to real-time acquisition of functional information about disease processes in living systems. In this review, we will summarise recent developments in in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) and discuss the potential of this imaging strategy for the future of cancer research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute (CA88303, CA92862, and CA80006) and unrestricted gifts from the Hess and Mary L. Johnson Research Funds (CHC). M.E. was supported by a grant from the Dr. Mildred Scheel Cancer Research Foundation.
- Animal model
- In vivo