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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), used as a clinical diagnostic tool since the early 1980s, is rapidly gaining traction as an integral part of the drug development process. Brain imaging research spans a wide area, covering both structure and function, and ranging from the physics and physiology associated with novel acquisition techniques, to the development of sophisticated image processing algorithms. This paper briefly describes two methods on either end of this spectrum: the "pipeline" framework for the fully automated morphometric analysis of brain imaging data, and molecular MRI, which holds promise for the non-invasive detection of molecular targets of new pharmacological compounds. The potential use of these technologies is illustrated by examples of their applications in multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and oncology.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date



10 Suppl 1


S58 - S68


Algorithms, Alzheimer Disease, Animals, Biomarkers, Brain, Brain Diseases, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Multiple Sclerosis, Neoplasms