Imaging agents or Imaging biomarkers are chemicals designed to allow clinicians to improve the imaging of specific organs, tissues, diseases and physiological functions. Imaging biomarkers hold much promise for diagnosing disease, monitoring disease progression, tracking therapeutic response, and enhancing our knowledge of physiology and pathophysiology. With the continued momentum towards specialized therapies and personalized medicine, there will be an increasing need to monitor the physical state of an individual in a noninvasive manner with increased specificity. Medical imaging has been put forth as one of the major players in such assessments, with an emphasis on molecular and functional imaging in addition to anatomical imaging.
The development of an imaging agent involves synthesizing the agent to target a particular tumor or process, after which the imaging instruments can be adjusted to neutralize the target. Such agents are first examined via preclinical animal studies before engaging in early-phase human clinical studies.