Normally an oncologist would have to wait weeks and months to determine whether or not a patient is responding to therapy. CT and MRI scans can be taken before and during treatment and the size of the tumor is measured. The new procedure can monitor immune response much more quickly, within a week or so and patients could be spared therapies that are not working. Pretty close to watching the progress of the cells in real time and in 3D. BD
The discovery, published June 8, 2008 in the early online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, enables scientists to monitor the immune system - at the whole body level in 3D - as it tries to fight some cancers or when it goes awry as it does in autoimmune diseases.
Because the probe is labeled with positron emitting particles, cells that take it in glow "hot" under PET scanning, which operates as a molecular camera that enables visualization of biological processes in living organisms. The work, done in animal models, will be further evaluated in subsequent studies. Eventually, Witte said, researchers hope to be able to monitor the immune systems of patients with FAC and other PET probes.