Converting Energy to Medical Progress
BER Medical Sciences
The Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) is part of the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Medical Sciences Division of BER manages the nuclear medicine research program,which pursues two main areas of scientific investigation--Imaging Systems and Radiopharmaceuticals.
Bringing the Human Genome to Life: Nuclear medicine can visualize biochemistry of Genetic Diseases
Defects in genes may cause about 5,000 hereditary diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, sickle-cell anemia, diabetes, and cancer. It's possible that most diseases have a genetic factor since genetic instructions control how all cells, normal and abnormal, function.
BER nuclear medicine is developing methods to study beneficial or harmful genetic changes with molecular probes for three targets:
BER scientists have successfully created images of genetically altered organ function in animals (see UCLA). Now, BER Medical Sciences has initiated exploratory research to develop new messenger RNA-based radiotracers for dynamic imaging of gene expression in animals in real time. In the future, drugs may be custom-made for individual patients based on genetic "fingerprinting." Nuclear medicine will play a crucial role in this pursuit.
Table of Contents * About BER * Many Patients * How Does It Work? * BER Medical * Future Healthcare * BNL * LBNL * ORNL * Sloan-Kettering * UCLA * Washington Univ. * Univ. of Michigan * 50-Years * Credits
Published April 2001
Return to the MSD Research Home Page
Disclaimers Monday, November 30, 2009 Webmaster