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PET/CT should be 'first-step' test for patients with Crohn's disease

WASHINGTON, D.C.The molecular imaging power of PET/CT is invaluable in noninvasively monitoring Crohn's diseasea chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that mainly affects young people, according to a study released by Belgian scientists at the 54th Annual Meeting of SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.

"Our study is the first one demonstrating the value of PET/CT in Crohn's disease," said Roland Hustinx, head of the nuclear medicine division at the University Hospital of Lige and professor of nuclear medicine at the University of Lige. "PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) imagingwith the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose or FDGcould be used as a first-step test in patients with clinical or biological signs suggesting active disease," he noted. "PET/CT can answer the major question: What is the activity of the disease"" explained Hustinx.

Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect the digestive system, has no medical cure, and its causes are unknown, explained Hustinx. Once the disease begins, it can fluctuate between periods of inactivity (remission) and activity (relapse). During relapses, symptomsvarying in nature, frequency and intensityinclude abdominal pain, diarrhea and worsening general physical condition. Estimates indicate that up to 2 million people in this country could be affected by Crohn's and related diseases. IBD most commonly begins during adolescence and early adulthood.

"The clinical course of the disease is characterized by a succession of periods of clinical relapses and remissions," said Hustinx. "Its diagnosis relies on clinical and biological signs (markers of inflammation in the blood) as well as direct examination of the bowel using ileocolonoscopy, an endoscopic examination of the large bowel, where the last part of the small bowel (ileum) is also examined," added Hustinx, who indicated
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
4-Jun-2007


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