Molecular imaging has been employed in many fields. It combines the disciplines of molecular biology, radiochemistry, pharmacology, instrumentation, and clinical medicine into a new imaging paradigm. In particular, molecular imaging plays an important role in drug discovery and advanced medical practice. Serial assessments of molecular and cellular function are commonly used as surrogate markers of various new treatments. In this sense, molecular imaging has developed in parallel with the progress of drug development and new medical treatments.
Hokkaido University has launched the Matching Program for Innovations in Future Drug Discovery and Medical Care. This program aims to establish a center for drug discovery and medical care through molecular imaging technologies. The central pillars are our world-leading technologies in glycoprotein pharmaceuticals and optical and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging technology. The program helps our university contribute to society by improving the quality of life for patients, by creating new industries that use novel technologies, and by fostering internationally minded innovators who are able to launch new businesses. Placing particular importance on industry-academia collaboration, we have also established the Frontier Research Center for Post-Genome Science and Technology, as well as the Research Center for Cooperative Projects. With the creation of these facilities, the establishment of a core organization for drug discovery and medical care has been greatly promoted.
We have had an international symposium together with leading world specialists regarding molecular imaging for integrated medical therapy. The symposium "Molecular Imaging for Integrated Medical Therapy" held March 13-14, 2009, at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, was a joint symposium of "The 6th Symposium for Future Drug Discovery and Medical Care" and "Symposium of the Research Center for Cooperative Projects". At the symposium, more than 150 physicians and scientists attended to share our new experiences in molecular imaging for drug development and advanced medical therapy.
We consider the timely publication of the proceedings of this symposium to be important. In these proceedings, our aim is to share our experiences with many specialists in different fields all over the world.
These proceedings will be helpful for a better understanding of molecular imaging technology, and also for an understanding of the roles played by molecular imaging in drug development and integrated medical therapy. We sincerely hope this book will foster a variety of young scientists in the fields of life science and medical practice.
Nagara Tamaki and Yuji Kuge Hokkaido University
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