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Power of molecular imaging reveals secrets of the heart
Date:4/9/2008

Reston, Va.The extraordinary action of a new cellular therapy came to light as a result of powerful PET and SPECT imaging in a recent study reported in the April issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Researchers in Germany were able to observe the repair action of circulating progenitor cells (CPCs), immature blood-derived cells capable of developing into adult stem cells, as they successfully preserved healthy heart tissue and corrected blood flow imbalance within the heart.

Twenty-six patients took part in the randomized, placebo-controlled and double-blinded study. Following the recanalization of blocked coronary arteries (the surgical reopening or formation of new paths for blood flow), one group received an infusion of progenitor cells. FDG PET and 99mTc-tetrofosmine-SPECT were then used to image relative changes in myocardial perfusion (blood flow through the middle and thickest part of the heart) and glucose metabolism.

The results were compared with a control group that had undergone recanalization but did not receive CPCs. In the CPC group, normalization of glucose metabolism and coronary blood flow was seen in nearly 50 percent of the repaired artery segments.

PET and SPECT are the only techniques capable of validating the metabolic changes we needed to observe in the heart once we had administered the progenitor cells, said Kai Kendziorra, M.D., a specialist in Nuclear Medicine at the University of Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany. The results shown by these imaging modalities provide the evidence needed to expand the use of CPC treatment.

Earlier research has shown that when a patients progenitor cells are activated by growth factors, the result is increased cell division, which is vital to the tissue repair process. In this study, progenitor cells developed from circulating blood were also found to be capable of repairing dysfunctionalyet viablemyocardial tissue, a condition referred to as hibernating myocardium.

Kendziorra said
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Contact: Kathryn Wiley
kwiley@snm.org
703-326-1184
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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