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From anatomy to the target: Contributions of magnetic resonance imaging to preclinical pharmaceutical research.

Beckmann, N., Mueggler, T., Allegrini, P.R., Laurent, D. and Rudin, M.

Anatomical Record, 265(2), 85-100 (2001).

In recent years, in vivo magnetic resonance (MR) methods have become established tools in the drug discovery and development process. in this article, the role of MR imaging (MRI) in the preclinical evaluation of drugs in animal models of diseases is illustrated on the basis of selected examples. The individual sections are devoted to applications of anatomic, physiologic, and "molecular" imaging providing, respectively, structural-morphological, functional, and target-specific information. The impact of these developments upon clinical drug evaluation is also briefly addressed. The main advantages of MRI are versatility, allowing a comprehensive characterization of a disease state and of the corresponding drug intervention; high spatial resolution; and noninvasiveness, enabling repeated measurements. Successful applications in drug discovery exploit one or several of these aspects. Additionally, MRI is contributing to strengthen the link between preclinical and clinical drug research.