News | PET Imaging | March 29, 2016

New PET Imaging Technology Could Improve Cancer Treatment Response

New method could lead to better therapies for many deadly cancers

PET imaging, cancer treatment, UCLA study, Caius Radu, dCK

March 29, 2016 —A promising new discovery by University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists could lead to a new method of identifying cancer patients that express high levels of an enzyme and are more likely to respond to cancer treatments.

Decades of significant advances and improvements in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging technology have led to the detection of an enzyme in humans that plays a significant role in DNA formation, the building blocks of life. The enzyme, called deoxycytidine kinase (dCK), was previously found to be highly expressed in acute leukemia cells and in activated lymphocytes and controls a critical step in the nucleoside salvage pathway, an important therapeutic and PET imaging target in cancer.

The study was published online March 28 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In a seven-year study, a team of UCLA researchers led by Caius Radu, M.D., a UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member and a professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, developed a highly sophisticated PET probe called [18F]CFA that is capable of detecting dCK activity in humans for the first time.

"The quality of the images is much better," said Radu. "We are able to clearly see tissues, including tumor tissues, with high dCK activity that we haven't seen before in humans using any of the other probes previously developed for this enzyme."

PET is a noninvasive imaging technology that uses a radioactive substance, called PET probe, to look for disease in the body and it also shows how organs and tissues are functioning. Until recently, PET technology was only able to clearly detect dCK in mice due to metabolic instability of the previous probes and cross-reactivity with a dCK-related enzyme in humans.

The dCK enzyme plays an integral role in allowing drugs such as Clofarabine, Cytarabine and Fludarabine to treat certain types of leukemia and others like Gemcitabine to treat breast, ovarian, non-small cell lung and pancreatic cancers.

"This enzyme is essential for the therapeutic activity of an entire class of anticancer drugs and even for some antiviral drugs," said Radu, who is also a member of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center. "It can take an inactive drug and activate it. If you trick a cancer cell or virus to activate the drug, it would be toxic for the cancer cell or viral genome."

Since activated immune cells increase their expression of the dCK enzyme, [18F]CFA could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of immunotherapeutic interventions, said Radu.

The researchers hope to begin clinical trials with the [18F]CFA in the near future. Radu and his colleagues will eventually seek an approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Radu and his team are co-founders of Sofie Biosciences and they are the inventors of [18F]CFA and analogs, which were patented by the University of California and have been licensed to Sofie Biosciences. University of California also patented additional intellectual property for small molecule dCK inhibitors.

For more information:

Related Content

Imaging agent helps predict success of lung cancer therapy
News | Oncology Diagnostics | March 08, 2018
March 8, 2018 – Doctors contemplating the best therapy for...
The yellow in the anterolateral entorhinal cortex of the young brain indicates significant activity, something that is absent in the older brain.

This figure shows two different brains that are aligned to a common template space for comparison. The yellow in the anterolateral entorhinal cortex of the young brain indicates significant activity, something that is absent in the older brain. CREDIT: Zachariah Reagh

News | Nuclear Imaging | March 08, 2018
As we get older, it's not uncommon to experience "senior moments," in which we forget where we parked our car or call...
Axumin PET Agent Added to NCCN Guidelines for Suspected Recurrent Prostate Cancer
News | PET Imaging | February 21, 2018
Blue Earth Diagnostics announced that Axumin (fluciclovine F 18) injection has been added to the National Comprehensive...
Radiography Education Enrollment Shows Marginal Rise in 2017
News | Business | February 15, 2018
Directors of radiography educational programs report the number of enrolled students increased slightly in 2017, while...
A Tc99m SPECT cardiac exam showing myocardial perfusion in the heart.

Technetium-99m is primarily used for the detection of cancer and to assess perfusion defects in the heart caused by heart attacks or other conditions.

Feature | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | February 08, 2018 | Dave Fornell
February 8, 2018 — The U.S.
PSMA PET-CT Clearly Differentiates Prostate Cancer from Benign Tissue

68Ga-PSMA PET/CT images showing multifocal PCA in peripheral zone with GS of 5 1 5 5 10. (A and C) Axial PET images. (B and D) Fused PET/CT images. SUVmax of lesion in B was 84.3 and that of lesion in D was 5.7. IRS was 3, and 80% of cells were stained. Credit: Senior author V Prasad, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

News | PET-CT | February 05, 2018
February 5, 2018 — Using nuclear medicine...
Brain-scan guided emergency stroke treatment can save more lives
News | Neuro Imaging | January 25, 2018
January 25, 2018 – Advances in brain imagin...
PET Tracer Measures Damage From Multiple Sclerosis in Mouse Models
News | PET Imaging | January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018 — The loss or damage of myelin, a cellular sheath that surrounds and insulates nerves, is the hallma
Novel PET Tracer Clearly Identifies and Tracks Bacterial Lung Infection

Representative PET/CT images of 18F-FDS and 18F-FDG in inflamed mice. Mice were inoculated with dead K. pneumoniae (10^8 CFU/mL). Imaging was performed for days 1, 2, 3 and 4 using 18F-FDG and 18F-FDS. CT images showed clear inflammation on day 2 and day 3 with corresponding high 18F-FDG uptake on PET. No significant uptake of 18F-FDS was detected for any of those 4 days. Credit: J Li et al., University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky.

News | PET-CT | January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018 — Researchers at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, have demonstrated that a new...
PET Tracer Gauges Effectiveness of Promising Alzheimer's Treatment

Longitudinal PET imaging with 18F-AV45. PET imaging shows the average 18F-AV45 uptake per animal group at 8 and 13 months of age. A significant interaction of genotype treatment was observed in the cortex (p = 0.0248), hippocampus (p = 0.0071) and thalamus (p = 0.0084), indicating reduced [18F]-AV45 uptake in BACE1 inhibited transgenic mice. Credit: MICA, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | December 28, 2017
In the December featured basic science article in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Belgian researchers report on the...
Overlay Init