Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear imaging technology (also referred to as molecular imaging) that enables visualization of metabolic processes in the body. The basics of PET imaging is that the technique detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting radionuclide (also called radiopharmaceuticals, radionuclides or radiotracer). The tracer is injected into a vein on a biologically active molecule, usually a sugar that is used for cellular energy. PET systems have sensitive detector panels to capture gamma ray emissions from inside the body and use software to plot to triangulate the source of the emissions, creating 3-D computed tomography images of the tracer concentrations within the body.
From left to right are patients with EGFR mutation, KRAS mutation, and EGFR– and KRAS– tumors, respectively. Stage I and III tumors are shown in the top and bottom rows, respectively. Arrows indicate the locations of the lung tumors. Credit: Stephen S.F. Yip, Ph.D., and Hugo Aerts, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston; John Kim, M.D., University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich.
CTVPOST (red) = CTVPRE (yellow) union CTVPET (pink). Also shown (upper right corner) are the PRE (square) vs POST (triangle) dose volume histograms for PTV1, PTV2, rectum, bladder, and penile bulb, showing minimal impact on target coverage or organs at risk dose with the modified targets. Image courtesy of Ashesh B. Jani, M.D., and David Schuster, M.D., Emory University.
Note the high uptake of Ga-68-pentixafor on multi-planar reconstructions in the organs expressing CXCR4 such as the spleen (red arrows) and adrenal glands (yellow arrows), which was nearly completely blocked by the pre-injection of AMD 3100, a potent CXCR4 inhibitor. Strong accumulation of Ga-68-pentixafor was also found in the kidneys (asterisks) reflecting the renal clearance of the tracer. In addition, high, focal activities were detected in the abdominal aorta (red arrowheads) and right carotid artery (orange arrowheads) of atherosclerotic rabbits, whereas no significant signal could be detected in the non-injured left carotid artery (white arrowheads) of atherosclerotic and control rabbits, as well as in the abdominal aorta and right carotid artery of control rabbits. Furthermore, focal activities detected with PET in atherosclerotic plaques of the abdominal aorta and the right carotid artery decreased significantly when the same rabbit was re-imaged after blocking CXCR4 receptors. Image courtesy of Fabien Hyafil, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Nuclear Medicine, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a chemical compound that detects the Alzheimer’s protein amyloid beta better than current FDA-approved agents. The compound potentially may be used in brain scans to identify people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the image, the compound has passed from the bloodstream of a living mouse into its brain, where it is detected by a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Arrows indicate clumps of amyloid beta. Credit Ping Yan and Jin-Moo Lee.