Patient image courtesy of Dr Toby Garrood Guy's Hospital, London
Maraciclatide is for investigational use only and is not approved by the FDA or UK and European regulatory authorities.
Bringing molecular imaging to rheumatology
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) are chronic, progressive, painful, incurable conditions in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. If untreated they can result in irreversible joint damage and permanent disability. Multiple therapies are available that can slow or even halt disease progression but it remains a challenge to identify which treatment is best for each individual patient:
There is no definitive blood marker, such as blood glucose levels in diabetes
X-rays show the damage that has already been done to the joints
Full clinical assessments require significant hands-on time with a rheumatologist and
symptoms do not always correlate with the underlying disease process
MRI is expensive and not readily accessible
Ultrasound is highly dependent upon the skill of the operator and time-consuming
There is, therefore, a clear need for a simple, rapid, robust, reliable, readily accessible and cost effective technique to assess disease activity and guide treatment decisions.
Data from clinical studies suggest that imaging with 99mTc-maraciclatide may allow rheumatologists to see inflammation in the joints which could help them deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time (personalised medicine) potentially leading to improved
outcomes and better quality of life.
Endometriosis: the invisible pain
Endometriosis is estimated to affect about 10% of women of child-bearing age. In this condition, cells similar to the ones lining the uterus (the endometrium) grow elsewhere in the abdomen and sometimes even farther afield. These cells react to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleed. However, there is no way for this blood to leave the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.
Endometriosis can have a significant impact on a person's life in a number of ways, including:
Problems with a couple’s sex life/relationships
An inability to conceive
Difficulty in fulfilling work and social commitments
There is no cure for endometriosis but treatments can reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the quality of life. A definitive diagnosis requires laparoscopy - an operation in which a camera (a laparoscope) is inserted into the pelvis via a small cut near the navel – and there is an average of 7.5 years from onset of symptoms to diagnosis.
The growth of endometrial tissue is dependent upon new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) which pre-clinical studies have shown can be imaged with 99mTc-maraciclatide. This raises the exciting possibility that 99mTc-maracicaltide has the potential to be a non-invasive diagnostic for endometriosis and an alternative to laparoscopic surgery which could benefit millions of women worldwide. A pilot clinical study to evaluate the utility of 99mTc-maracicaltide will begin in 2022.
Seracam (hybrid gamma optical camera) is for investigational use only and has not been cleared or approved by the FDA or UK and European regulatory authorities.
(hybrid gamma optical camera) is portable, smaller, easier to use and more cost effective than anything that exists on the market today.
Currently the benefits of molecular imaging (MI) with radio-labelled tracers are largely restricted to patients who can be referred to the Nuclear Medicine (NM) Department of a hospital where the big, expensive, heavy, conventional cameras are sited in dedicated rooms.
Seracam is designed to allow molecular imaging to be routinely taken from the NM Department to the patient, wherever they may be - the outpatient clinic, hospital ward, physician office, the intensive care unit (ICU), operating room (OR) or even a remote village in the developing world.
Seracam also has the potential to improve the scanning experience for patients who have trouble keeping still or feel claustrophobic in the full-body scanners; a more comfortable patient is less prone to movement during the exam.
An additional unique feature of Seracam is patented co-registration of the gamma and optical images. This technology is anticipated to make images easier to interpret for the untrained eye, which should enhance physician/patient communication and patients having a better understanding of their condition and treatment options.
Seracam has been designed as a platform technology that can be easily modified to increase its clinical utility. For example, preliminary studies have shown that the optical camera can be readily modified to allow imaging of fluorescent markers, a capability that would be of particular value in surgical oncology. Work is currently underway to develop a system capable of 3D imaging.
Platform technology – multiple opportunities
Seracam has multiple applications outside of the medical imaging field which are being actively investigated. Obvious adjacencies are in the fields of life sciences (small animal imaging) and veterinary medicine. But numerous opportunities in industrial applications also exist, most notably in the nuclear power industry where the availability of a “video camera that can see radiation” could enhance safety.