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Imaging a Future: Looking at the Role of PET

June 3, 2021 – The imaging field has many exciting developments in the pipeline for oncology. When looking to the future, Imaging Endpoints’ Chief Medical Officer Ron Korn, M.D., Ph.D., has been a strong proponent of the potential of Positron emission tomography or PET.

PET imaging offers unique information in the evaluations of cancer patients by using radiolabeled probes that provide a real-time look at the state of a person’s health.

“The PET probes under development are very exciting in that they are demonstrating sufficient sensitivity and specificity to detect the intricate molecular and biologic pathways that contribute to and sustain malignant disease,” says Dr. Korn. “In the past, these pathways were difficult to identify and measure (usually requiring repeated biopsies), but with PET imaging, we have an easy-to-use, non-invasive tool that is accurate enough to pinpoint areas of altered molecular and cellular change attributable to cancer and at the same time provide significant insights into the immune microenvironment.”

Unlike other imaging technologies, such as CT and MRI, which identify a fixed quantity of change based upon tumor location and size, PET looks at the entire body from head to toe, not just one area of concern. With this more global look and in the age of personalized medicine, PET has become an even more essential tool to use in clinical trials and clinical care.

“As a result, I think that the many PET imaging agents that are being developed and approved for use in humans will make a substantial impact on patient outcomes by helping to determine which treatment decisions are best for the patient and which are to be avoided,” says Dr. Korn. “In a similar manner, PET is well suited to help pharmaceutical and biotech companies develop better and more effective treatments.”

Access to novel and conventional PET imaging agents and the ability to seamlessly integrate these novel techniques into clinical trials has been successfully deployed at Imaging Endpoints and has helped our pharmaceutical partners accelerate their pipeline development.

In the immuno-oncology space, both biological and cellular changes can be dynamic and complex to explore, both temporally and spatially. Nevertheless, understanding these dynamic changes can be critical to predicting the outcomes of immune therapy.

“By using PET radiopharmaceuticals that probe different aspects of the immune system, I believe that we can ultimately revolutionize medical care, whether it is early detection at one end of the spectrum or the development of tumor resistance to immune therapy at the other end, I believe that PET will have a very important role to play in the future,” he says.

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