Scientists test the potential of integrated PET/CT for molecular imaging of the heart

TORONTO, Canada--For the first time, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) for imaging the subcellar function of the heart--from its subcellular function to its morphologic appearance. The results of the study were reported at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 52nd Annual Meeting June 1822 in Toronto.

"Our vision is to use PET/CT to dissect the biologic processes from gene expression to physiologic function to the morphologic appearance," said Frank M. Bengel, M.D., Nuklearmedizinische Klinik, TU Mnchen, Munich, Germany. "In this study we explored the potential of PET/CT to achieve this goal, and the results of our experimental study with animals mark a new application of PET/CT for molecular imaging of the heart," added the co-author of "Hybrid PET/CT for Functional/Biological Characterization of Myocardial Molecular Interventions--A Multitracer Study in a Pig Model of Adenoviral VEGF Gene Transfer."

"To my knowledge, this is the first study using PET/CT for biologic characterization of a molecular intervention, showing the full potential of PET/CT as a translational imaging technique," said Bengel. "PET/CT will provide a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of cardiac gene therapy and, because it is applicable in animals and humans, will refine the translation of results obtained in experimental animals to a clinical setting in humans," he explained.

PET/CT is a novel diagnostic technique, combining imaging of the morphologic appearance with imaging of biology on the cellular and subcellular levels. "The latest generation of PET/CT cameras is equipped with a fast, multislice CT, which allows for imaging of the heart," detailed Bengel. "This multitracer, multimodality approach is already considered a breakthrough in tumor imaging," he added.

Within a single PET/CT imaging session, recently developed tracer techniques--which target the expression of genes that are transferred to the hear

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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