Nuclear medicine aids early diagnosis of pulmonary anthrax

Reston, VA - A nuclear medicine procedure that has the potential to safely pinpoint even the smallest amounts of infected tissue has received preliminary approval for a clinical trial in the diagnosis of inhalation anthrax before symptoms become apparent. A report on this possible breakthrough will appear in the Newsline section of the December issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, available on December 19. The Newsline article can be found at: http://www.snm.org/pdf/newslinecurr.pdf

The JNM Newsline reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a protocol for a clinical trial to assess the efficacy of a 99mTc-labeled monoclonal antibody in imaging early-stage inhalation anthrax infection.

According to the representatives of the company that has developed the monoclonal antibody, the technique offers the unique ability to detect the earliest stages of involvement, before any other laboratory or radiographic diagnostic tests can detect the presence of infection and well before the more serious symptoms of inhalation anthrax infection are apparent. Newsline reports that the technique promises not only to identify and begin treatment for patients in the earliest stages of infection but to provide a means by which patients can be definitively identified as disease free and taken off long-term wide-spectrum antibiotic treatment.

According to Newsline, the protocol, developed by Robert Bridwell, MD, Associate Professor of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Bethesda, MD) and staff physician at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC; Washington, DC), is designed to identify asymptomatic patients who have experienced credible exposure to anthrax spores. Information from Bridwell obtained by SNM after the article went to press, indicated that all patients exposed will be assessed and that for ethical reasons there

Contact: Karen Lubieniecki
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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