A new technique uses positron emission tomography and a novel radiopharmaceutical known as 64Cu-FBP8 to track life-threatening blood clots anywhere in the body with a single scan, according to a study presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Blood clots can trigger strokes, heart attacks and other medical emergencies. As a result, doctors need to find the blood clot’s exact location in order to treat it. However, current clinical techniques can only consider one part of the body at a time and patients may have to undergo three imaging procedures to locate the clot: ultrasound to check the carotid arteries or legs, magnetic resonance imaging to scan the heart and computed tomography to check the lungs.
The need to pinpoint blood clots quickly is especially important in those who have already suffered a stroke. "It's a shot in the dark. Patients could end up being scanned multiple times by multiple techniques in order to locate a clot. We sought a method that could detect blood clots anywhere in the body with a single whole-body scan," said researcher Peter Caravan, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in a news release.
In a preclinical trial the researchers tried different radionuclides and peptides to identify which combination would provide the brightest PET signal in blood clots. They ultimately constructed 15 candidate blood clot probes and tested them in rats. Results showed that the best probe was the one that was the most stable. The team is moving forward into the next phase of research with this best-performing probe, called FBP8, which stands for “fibrin binding probe #8.” It contained copper-64 as the radionuclide.