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Novel Imaging Agent Developed By Penn Researchers Provides Insight Into Brain's Message Delivery System

(Philadelphia, PA) -- How the brain works and why it malfunctions remains a mystery that drives scientists and physicians to seek answers. A scientific triumph in this crusade occurred when an advanced brain imaging agent, called Trodat, was developed at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. This imaging agent could be a key to the understanding of brain disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

To acknowledge this milestone, the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine (EJNM) will present one of its highest honors -- the Award for Best Science Paper in 1997-- to Hank F. Kung, PhD, professor and Chief of Radiopharmaceutical Research at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. The award will be given at the Joint Congress of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine and the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology held in Berlin, Germany, August 30 - September 4, 1998.

This award recognizes the breakthroughs of Dr. Kung and a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Penn, including chemists, radiologists, psychiatrists, and pharmacologists. The paper, entitled, "[99mTc] Trodat-1: a Novel Technetium-99m Complex as a Dopamine Transporter Imaging Agent*," describes the development and study of a groundbreaking new brain tracer, or imaging agent, used to evaluate brain function in normal and disease states. Commonly known as Trodat, this new tracer is a derivative of tropane -- a minimally-radioactive chemical that follows the flow of a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine -- and can be used as a diagnostic tool for imaging dopamine transporters.

"The dopamine system in the brain contains receptors that control basic functions like ovement, memory, and emotion," explains Dr. Kung. "Trodat can be used to determine whether the dopamine transporter is working correctly, or, if it is unbalanced which leads to neurological and psychological illnesses th
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Contact: Diane Giaccone
dgiaccon@mail.med.upenn.edu
(215) 662-2098
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
25-Aug-1998


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