PET Tracer Images Fibrin in Blood Clots
Fatal cardiac events are often preceded by abnormal blood clots, also called thrombosis. Scientists have now developed a molecular imaging technique that could save lives by revealing troublesome thrombi, according to researchers.
"Thrombosis is the underlying cause of deadly diseases such as stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and heart attack, which affect millions of people worldwide," says Francesco Blasi, PharmD, PhD, lead author of the study from the A. A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in the department of radiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
For this preclinical study, PET was performed on rats injected with the radiotracer Cu-64 FBP8, which binds to fibrin, a main constituent of blood clots. The PET scans were performed either one, three, or seven days following the development of thrombosis in either the arteries or the veins. Results of the study showed that Cu-64 FBP8 was more than 97% accurate for pinpointing thrombi throughout the body.
"If approved, fibrin-specific PET could facilitate diagnosis, guide therapeutic choices, and help physicians monitor their patients' treatment," says Peter Caravan, PhD, principal investigator of the study. "This technique also offers full-body detection of thrombi with a single injection of probe, instead of the current imaging standards, which are limited to specific parts of the body. A one-time, whole-body scan could prevent unnecessary procedures and uncover hidden thrombi before they generate a deadly embolism."
Contingent on approval by the FDA, Blasi and his colleagues expect to conduct a first-in-human study of FBP8-PET as soon as this fall.