Department of Nuclear Medicine and Tracer Kinetics Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine
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Osaka University, Graduate School of Medicine / Faculty of Medicine
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Integrated Radiation Laboratory Medicine (Nuclear Medicine)
Jun Hatazawa

A sense of wonder-
- This is the bud of science.

To observe well, confirm, and think-
- This is the stem of science.

And at last the mystery unfolds-
- This is the flower of science.

(From Dr. Sinichiro Tomonaga, Nobel Prize in Physics)

From late 20th century to the present, techniques to observe human body alive have advanced dramatically. Diagnostic imaging technique has been developed and spread with integration of physics, medical engineering, computer science, materials science, pharmacology, and information science. X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) play important roles in morphological diagnosis, small lesions of a few millimeters can be detected. Positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission tomography (SPECT) are used for functional diagnosis. The movement of molecules can be tracked, you can diagnose the disease before the morphological change occurs.

Currently, the medicine has drastically changed from "experience-based medicine" to "evidence-based medicine". Many attempts have started to understand the activities of life at molecular level and elucidate the cause of diseases. PET and SPECT imaging of biomolecule plays a central role to promote "observe human body well, confirm the disease, and think." It makes possible to diagnose cancer, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, heart disease, and many other diseases. In-vivo molecular imaging has also been used as a quantitative method of evaluating the development of drugs and their effects.

Our laboratory, medical department (diagnostic imaging with PET and SPECT) as well, are working on the development and application of new biomolecular imaging. Many joint researches are progressing on development of imaging equipment, synthesis of radioactive isotopes, and tracer-label with doctors of science, engineering, and pharmacy. "Make it visible that has never been seen" is a series of surprises. We will apply this technology to clinical practice and wish to bloom the "flower of medicine".

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