Positron emission tomography (PET) is a molecular imaging technology for examining the molecular basis of normal biological functions of cells and their failure in disease. PET's molecular diagnostics of the biology of disease are often more accurate than lesion-based diagnosis by structural imaging techniques such as x-ray films, x-ray computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. PET provides the means to examine the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of drugs in living mammals, from the mouse to the human patient. PET includes three major technical components: the PET scanner, cyclotron-based electronic generators for producing labeled probes, and biological assays using tracer principles. This chapter examines these components, provides a brief history of the development of PET technologies, and discusses applications of PET.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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