News | February 05, 2009

UCLA Uses PET to Track Response to Chemotherapy Prior to Therapy

February 5, 2009 - UCLA scientists are using positron emission tomography (PET) to evaluate tumor response to chemotherapy before prescribing therapy, enabling physicians to quickly pinpoint the most effective treatment and personalize it to the patient's unique biochemistry. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the UCLA findings in its Feb. 2 online edition.

"For the first time, we can watch a chemotherapy drug working inside the living body in real time," explained Caius Radu, M.D., a researcher at the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging and assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We plan to test this method in healthy volunteers within the year to determine whether we can replicate our current results in humans."

In an earlier study, Radu and his colleagues created a small probe by slightly altering the molecular structure of gemcitabine, one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs. They labeled the probe with a special tag that enabled them to watch its movement throughout the body during imaging.

In this study, the UCLA team injected the probe into mice that had developed leukemia and lymphoma tumors. After an hour, the researchers imaged the animals' bodies with PET.

"Because we tag the probe with positron-emitting particles, the cells that absorb it glow brighter under the PET scan,” said Radu, who is also a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.

"The PET scan offers a preview for how the tumor will react to a specific therapy," added first author Rachel Laing, a UCLA graduate researcher in molecular and medical pharmacology. "We believe that the tumor cells that absorb the probe will also take up the drug. If the cells do not absorb the probe, it suggests that the tumor might respond better to another medication."

The UCLA researchers plan to expand the scope of their research by examining whether the probe can predict cellular response to several other widely used chemotherapy drugs. Their goal is to determine whether the probe can provide a diagnostic test of clinical value.

"The beauty of this approach is that it is completely non-invasive and without side effects," said Radu. "If we are successful in transporting this test to a clinical setting, patients will be able to go home immediately and resume their daily activities."

If testing in healthy subjects proves safe and effective, UCLA researchers will begin recruiting volunteers for a larger clinical study of the probe in cancer patients.

For more information: http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla

Related Content

Subtle Medical Receives FDA Clearance, CE Mark for SubtlePET
Technology | PET Imaging | December 05, 2018
Subtle Medical announced 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market SubtlePET. Subtle...
Mirada Medical Joins U.K. Consortium Exploring Healthcare AI
News | Artificial Intelligence | December 04, 2018
Mirada Medical, a leading global brand in medical imaging software, will form part of an artificial intelligence (AI)...
Siemens Healthineers Showcases syngo Virtual Cockpit for More Flexible Workforce Management
News | Teleradiology | November 25, 2018
During the 104th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Nov. 25-30...
Artificial Intelligence Predicts Alzheimer's Years Before Diagnosis
News | Neuro Imaging | November 14, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves the ability of brain imaging to predict Alzheimer’s disease, according...
Researchers Awarded 2018 Canon Medical Systems USA/RSNA Research Grants
News | Radiology Imaging | November 13, 2018
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation recently announced the...
Subtle Medical Showcases Artificial Intelligence for PET, MRI Scans at RSNA 2018
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 13, 2018
At the 2018 Radiological Society of North America annual meeting (RSNA 2018), Nov. 25-30 in Chicago, Subtle Medical...
Feature | PET Imaging | November 07, 2018 | By Greg Freiherr
Positron emission tomography (PET) is getting ready to venture outside oncology, cardiology and mainstream neurology....
Podcast | PET Imaging | November 07, 2018
PET is getting ready to venture outside oncology, cardiology and mainstream neurology.
PET Imaging Offers New Possibilities in Chronic Liver Disease Management

Hepatic 18F-FDG, 18F-FAC, and 18F-DFA accumulation are affected in a mouse model of autoimmune hepatitis. (A) Histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses of liver sections from vehicle- and ConA-treated mice. Scale bars represent 50 microns. Transverse PET/CT images (B) and quantification (C) of vehicle- and ConA-treated mice injected with 18F-FDG, 18F-FAC, and 18FDFA. Livers are outlined in a white dotted line. Quantification represents radiotracer accumulation in the liver normalized to a background organ. Image courtesy of Salas J.R., Chen B.Y., Wong A., et al.

News | PET Imaging | October 24, 2018
While liver biopsies are powerful and reliable, they are also invasive, painful, limited and subject to complications....
Huntsman Cancer Institute Installs First Preclinical nanoScan 3T PET/MRI in U.S.
News | PET-MRI | October 10, 2018
The Center for Quantitative Cancer Imaging at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah in Salt Lake...