“Combatting Bacterial Infection with Positron Emission Tomography”
Hosted by the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR)
Research Interests: The principle focus of our laboratory is to develop new molecular imaging agents, which can be detected by Positron Emission Tomography (PET). PET is unique in that, unlike anatomical imaging modalities such as MRI or CT, the sensitivity and quantitative nature allows non-invasive visualization of specific molecular events occurring within the body. Due to the high sensitivity of PET, biologically active molecules can be labeled with positron-emitting isotopes without eliciting a pharmacological response. Despite the enormous potential of PET in healthcare, a lack of specific and biologically validated imaging agents are available to clinicians for routine use. Without question, the most widely distributed PET imaging agent used in nuclear medicine is 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (FDG). FDG PET has become a mainstay in clinical care, such as oncology, as many tumors utilize glycolysis (in part) to promote survival and growth; however, FDG has several key limitations. Many cells, including cancer, inflammatory, bacterial, and normal utilize glucose as a fuel source and render signal-to-noise a significant problem to accurately and precisely quantify images and correlate to a biological status. This biological ambiguity makes FDG PET particularly challenging to manage diseases of the brain, pancreas, lung, and heart. Thus, innovative tracers capable of detecting specific molecular signatures are essential to advance the role PET plays in clinical disease management and precision medicine. Projects in our lab focus on development of those novel imaging agents and translating them to the clinic.
For inquiries contact Jessica Hampton.