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The need to study dynamic biologic processes in intact small animal models of disease has stimulated the development of high resolution nuclear imaging methods. These methods are capable of clarifying molecular interactions important in the onset and progression of disease, assessing the biologic relevance of drug candidates and potential imaging agents, and monitoring therapeutic effectiveness of pharmaceuticals serially within a single-model system. Dedicated small-animal SPECT, SPECT/CT and PET/SPECT/CT systems have been developed. Further innovation continues to address challenges in camera sensitivity, spatial resolution, and image reconstruction and quantification. The innumerable applications of small-animal SPECT and SPECT/CT in drug evaluation, cardiology, neurology, and oncology are stimulating further investment in education, research, and development of these dedicated small-animal imaging modalities.
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