The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved NeutroSpec, a monoclonal antibody that binds to a type of infection-fighting white blood cell, for use in patients five years and older who have inconclusive symptoms of appendicitis.
NeutroSpec is "radiolabeled," meaning it carries technetium, a radioactive substance. When injected into the blood, NeutroSpec finds and binds to a certain receptor on neutrophils, white blood cells that the body uses to fight infection. Doctors can then locate the antibody and the infection site by using a device called a gamma camera. In case of hard to diagnose cases, the gamma camera pictures allow doctors to accurately see if the appendix is infected or not and permits them to treat the cause appropriately.
"NeutroSpec is easy, quick and reliable and has no known risk," says Mathew Thakur, Ph.D., professor of radiology and radiation oncology and director of radiopharmaceutical research at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, who holds a patent on the antibody and who invented and patented the antibody radiolabeling process.
In 1976, Dr. Thakur, then at the Medical Research Council at Hammersmith Hospital in London, and his colleagues invented a procedure that allowed nuclear medicine physicians and scientists to label such infection fighting blood cells for the first time outside the patient's body. The procedure continues to be used routinely around the world to find unknown infections in the body,
Contact: Steve Benowitz
Thomas Jefferson University