Navigation Links
Radioactive 'understudy' may aid medical imaging, drug development

Broadway stars have understudies. Now, an increasingly popular radioactive isotope has its own stand-in. Developed in part by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the substance might ultimately improve medical imaging, speed up clinical trials of many drugs and facilitate efforts to develop more individualized medical treatment.

The number of medical images obtained through the technique known as positron emission tomography (PET) is increasing at a rate of 20 percent a yearand this has correspondingly increased the use of fluorine-18, the radioactive isotope of choice in the vast majority of PET procedures. Injected into the bloodstream while bound to carrier molecules, fluorine-18 lights up the body during PET scans to perform such jobs as revealing tumors, monitoring heart activity and determining which regions of the brain are active during certain tasks.

However, fluorine-18 has a very short lifea batch of the stuff decays to half its initial quantity in fewer than two hours, and less than one-ten-thousandth of the original amount is left after a single day. Because the stuff decays so quickly, it is not possible for a single central lab to make precise measurements on fluorine-18 solutions and then distribute them to far-flung centers to calibrate PET machines. This lack of a standard reference for fluorine-18 means that PET-related measurements from center to center, from patient to patient, and even in the same patient over time, are difficult or impossible to compare with one another.

NIST researchers, collaborating with an Ohio-based nuclear medicine company called RadQual, have turned to germanium-68 as a calibration surrogate for fluorine-18. This germanium isotope is much longer livedits half-life is 270.95 daysbut its radiation decay characteristics are otherwise similar to fluorine-18. Small differences between measurements of germanium-68 and fluorine-18 can be accounted for through the use of mathematical conversion factors. Germanium-68 never would be used in actual PET procedures; it would only be used to calibrate the machines properly, enabling more accurate measurements of the fluorine-18 isotopes. Although germanium-68 has been used for performing corrections on PET scanners, the industry has lacked a nationally traceable standard reference material for instrument calibration.

NIST researchers have calibrated solutions of germanium-68 that could become the basis of a new standard reference material for this isotope. The next phase of this project involves working with RadQual to calibrate a new mock syringe standard that would use germanium-68 embedded in an epoxy to simulate fluorine-18 in a syringe. This would help researchers more accurately determine the amount of fluorine-18 to be injected into patients during the PET procedure so as to minimize radiation dose while still producing the best image. NIST is also working independently on a germanium-68-based PET phantom that can be used to calibrate PET scanners in a way that is traceable back to NIST.

The first commercial products from this collaboration may be reaching PET centers later this year. By giving doctors more accurate results on how specific patients are responding to cancer treatments and providing more precise indications earlier in clinical trials as to how individual patients are metabolizing particular drugs, better standards for PET imaging may hasten the arrival of individualized medicine.


Contact: Ben Stein
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Related biology news :

1. American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
2. M2SYS Partners With Gnosis Medical Services to Provide Accurate Patient Identification in Developing Countries Through Innovative Biometrics Solution
3. Boston University biomedical engineers find chink in bacterias armor
4. $22 million gift from Alfred Taubman launches new biomedical research institute
5. USC biomedical team to participate in $6 million low vision project
6. 3 Columbia University Medical Center faculty elected to Institute of Medicine
7. Phase 2 of Singapores Biomedical Sciences Initiative gains momentum for clinical research
8. UMass Medical School researchers receive $8.5M grant award to fight AIDS
9. Natural product discovery by Cleveland medical researchers blocks tissue destruction
10. Triage study challenges notions of emergency medical response to disaster
11. Titanium Group Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Multimilion Dollar Medical Software Company and Its Existing Sales Network
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced the ... and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report to their ... Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a fast ... Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of the number ... the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 (source ...
(Date:11/20/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , November 20, 2015 ... biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... its CEO, Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed ... The interview will air on this weekend on ... Bloomberg Latin America . --> NXTD ) ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... authentication market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the ... Strategy Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this ... comprehensive product line catering to the needs of the ... which the product line meets and expands on customer ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Oregon , November 25, 2015 ... Market Research Report is a professional and in-depth ... industry.      (Logo: ) ... overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications ... is provided for the international markets including development ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today announced that ... and invited investors to participate via webcast. ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or ... financial results for the quarter ended September 30, ... Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial Reporting ... ," said Andrew Rae , President ... iCo-008 are not only value enriching for this ...
Breaking Biology Technology: