When FluoroPharma CEO, Thijs Spoor, recently gave a presentation summarizing the rising importance in medical diagnostics of PET technology, and the associated radiopharmaceuticals such as those developed by FluoroPharma, it brought into focus a major gap between the promise of PET and the current availability of chemical agents needed to make the promise a reality.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a branch of nuclear medicine imaging that uses mildly radioactive tracer chemicals to highlight extremely subtle biological processes actively taking place at the cellular and even molecular level within the human body. As such, it represents functional scanning versus simply structural scanning. It doesn’t just show how the body looks, but what the body is doing at the most detailed level. The result is the highest contrast resolution available for internal imaging.
However, none of it works without the availability of suitable tracer chemicals which can insinuate themselves into otherwise imperceptible biological processes, making them visible to the advanced PET hardware and software. For a given targeted process, the market requires an appropriate and safe tracer chemical. Nuclear cardiologists, for example, are very anxious for new tracer agents that can be used to better identify and track processes related to heart disease. In particular, cardiology clinicians are looking for a vulnerable plaque imaging agent, a better profusion agent, and a viability agent, all of which are now part of the FluoroPharm portfolio:
• BFET – For myocardial perfusion imaging (measuring cardiovascular blood flow)
• CardioPET – For cardiac viability assessment (detecting regions of metabolic insufficiency)
• VasoPET – For inflamed atherosclerotic plaque imaging (detecting inflamed plaque)
These targeting agents can make a big difference in the treatment of heart disease, still the number one killer in the country. In the case of FluoroPharma’s VasoPET product, used for detecting inflamed plaque, which is the most unstable and dangerous type of plaque, early detection is critical, since the first symptom of such a problem is often sudden death.
Because there are still a very limited number of such tracer agents, the thousands of expensive PET scanners currently in hospitals around the country and the world are significantly under-utilized, creating a cost effectiveness issue that only more and better agents can address. In addition, the production of such agents by cyclotron operators requires a high level of fixed costs which, when spread over a handful of agents, increases the per unit cost of agents. So there is also a strong economic need for new agents to be developed.
For more information, see the company website at www.FluoroPharma.com
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