Optical imaging of radioisotopes: A novel multimodal approach to molecular imaging

A. E. Spinelli, M. Marengo, R. Calandrino, A. Sbarbati, F. Boschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this review there will be presented an overview of the literature about the recent developments on radiotracers imaging using optical methods and their applications. We will begin with a short summary regarding the discovery of Cerenkov radiation (CR) and then focus on the early developments and experimental validation of planar Cerenkov luminescence imaging. A significant improvement in Cerenkov luminescence imaging was given by the development of tomographic methods in order to obtain in vivo whole body 3D images of Cerenkov sources. An interesting and original application discussed in this review is the use of CR as the excitation source of quantum dots and fluorophores. We will also present some recent experimental results on in vivo radio luminescence imaging of alpha and gamma emitters. All these results make optical radioisotopes imaging an interesting cost-effective tool for the screening of new probes for both imaging and therapeutic applications. Other interesting aspects are the uses of Cerenkov radiation for radiotherapy and for radiopharmaceuticals synthesis applications. We will conclude by summarising the most important results and the future challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-290
Number of pages11
JournalQuarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Molecular imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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