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New Radiotracer Improves Differential Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 11 Mar 2020
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Image: Dr. Rodrigo Teodoro and Dr. Thu Hang Lai running an automated [18F]FLUDA synthesis module (Photo courtesy of HZDR)
Image: Dr. Rodrigo Teodoro and Dr. Thu Hang Lai running an automated [18F]FLUDA synthesis module (Photo courtesy of HZDR)
A new study highlights a novel positron emission tomography (PET) radionuclide that can improve image-based differential diagnostics of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Developed at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR; Dresden, Germany), the metabolically stable radiotracer, called [18F]FLUDA, attaches itself to adenosine (A2B) receptors in the brain and can be detected there. Metabolism studies in mice revealed that the radiometabolite can penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB). It also performed well in dosimetry and radiation protection studies, carried out in cooperation with the Clinic of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Leipzig (Germany), as well as in a toxicity study.

When adenosine attaches to certain receptors, it causes the nerve cells to work more slowly, including those that are significant for PD. The areas of the brain where increased radioactivity is detected must therefore have a particularly high number of receptors, which can be imaged using super-sensitive PET imaging. The study, by an interdisciplinary team from the HZDR Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research, won the HZDR third Innovation Contest. The researchers are now preparing for clinical studies to test whether the new substance also proves its value in everyday medical practice.

“No objective criteria for the differential diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease previously existed to detect at early stage whether a patient is sensitive to the side effects, meaning that it was also impossible to develop personalized therapies,” said lead researcher Thu Hang Lai, PhD. “The new radiopharmaceutical means a great benefit for the patients, but can also reduce the treatment costs of health insurance companies.”

18F is a fluorine radioisotope that decays by positron emission 97% of the time, and electron capture 3% of the time; both modes of decay yield stable oxygen-18 (18O). 18F is an important radioisotope as a result of both its short half-life and the emission of positrons when decaying. It is primarily synthesized into fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) for use in PET scans.

Related Links:
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
University of Leipzig

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