Novel diagnostic tool detects life-threatening infections faster than standard nuclear imaging tests

LOS ANGELES, CA (Embargoed until June 17, 2002, 2:45, p.m., PST) Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that a novel imaging agent detects life-threatening infections and inflammation in patients more rapidly than the standard nuclear medicine imaging tests typically used for this purpose. The imaging agent may eliminate the need for additional tests and reduce the risk of exposure involved in handling blood samples taken when additional clarification is needed to identify the infection.

The study, presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, sought to determine whether the agent, a non-invasive radiopharmaceutical recently FDA approved for the detection of lung cancer, was effective in identifying the presence of infection or inflammation. The investigators found that the imaging agent, called Tc 99m Depreotide detected the source of the infection in all patients studied three hours after they received the agent. Infection and inflammations included pneumonia, infections of bone, kidney, lining of the heart, gallbladder, skin and joint prosthesis.

"Our results show that a Depreotide scan identified the source of infection in all patients who had successfully undergone other types of nuclear imaging tests to determine the cause of infection," said Alan Waxman, M.D., the lead author of the study and the Director of Nuclear Medicine and Co-Chairman of Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "In short, Depreotide enabled us to determine the presence of infection about three hours after the patient underwent a Depreotide scan when it usually takes as long as 24 to 48 hours to get results. This means that medical decisions can be made much more rapidly and accurately when a patient's life may be at stake."

Typically, radiologists use nuclear imaging tests such as labeled white blood cells or other radio tracers to help identify the type and source of infection when patients present with fever

Contact: Kelli Stauning
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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