Molecular imaging is an evolving science that is concerned with the development of novel imaging probes and biomarkers that can be used to non-invasively image molecular and cellular processes. This special issue approaches molecular imaging in the context of radiation research, focusing on biomarkers and imaging methods that provide measurable signals that can assist in the quantification of radiation-induced effects of living systems at the physical, chemical and biological levels. The potential to image molecular changes in response to a radiation insult opens new and exciting opportunities for a more profound understanding of radiation biology, with the possibility of translation of these techniques to radiotherapy practice. This special issue brings together 14 reviews dedicated to the use of molecular imaging in the field of radiation research. The initial three reviews are introductory overviews of the key molecular imaging modalities: magnetic resonance, nuclear and optical. This is followed by 11 reviews each focusing on a specialist area within the field of radiation research. These include: hypoxia and perfusion, tissue metabolism, normal tissue injury, cell death and viability, receptor targeting and nanotechnology, reporter genes, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and biological dosimetry. Over the preceding decade, molecular imaging brought significant new advances to our understanding of every area of radiation biology. This special issue shows us these advances and points to the vibrant future of our field armed with these new capabilities.
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