What are Molecular Imaging Probes?

Molecular imaging probes are a special class of pharmaceuticals, sometimes called contrast agents, tracers or radiopharmaceuticals. Probes are injected into a patient and enable physicians and researchers to non-invasively see the biochemical activity of cells to diagnose disease, identify which patients are best suited for a particular treatment and help monitor the response to treatment.

CPDC specializes in radiopharmaceuticals, which are probes that contain short-lived radioactive isotopes. Diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals are designed to seek out and bind to specific biochemical markers (biomarkers) at the site of the disease. The decay of the isotopes releases positrons or gamma rays that can be detected and digitally imaged with specialized cameras like positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanners respectively. The probes accumulate at the site of disease and are seen as darker regions in the patient images.

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This technology is revolutionizing patient care and opening a new era of personalized medicine. It is enabling physicians to understand the severity and extent of disease in patients and to tailor treatment based on each individual’s diagnosis. Molecular imaging also helps physicians to assess the effectiveness of treatment earlier and make any necessary changes to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.

The PET radiopharmaceuticals that have been commercialized to date, are primarily used to non-invasively visualize tumours. CPDC is currently working on developing and commercializing the next generation of probes for cancer and other diseases. These new probes will be designed to help physicians achieve accurate and early diagnosis of disease, select the best treatment and monitor its effectiveness. This is a critical goal because new therapies are costly and are designed to work for specific types of diseases. Imaging probes that help guide therapy could help physicians to prescribe treatment with more certainty, leading to lower health care costs and better outcomes for patients.