Jefferson-Based Technology Promises to Help Find Hard-to-Diagnose Appendicitis Cases

About half of the 700,000 annual cases of suspected appendicitis in the United States lack the usual symptoms – pain in the lower right abdomen, fever and a rising white blood cell count – making the decision to operate somewhat problematic. Now, thanks to a new imaging agent based on technology developed by nuclear medicine researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, doctors may finally have a way to rapidly and accurately detect those hard-to-diagnose cases.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved NeutroSpec, a monoclonal antibody that binds to a type of infection-fighting white blood cell, for use in patients five years and older who have inconclusive symptoms of appendicitis.

NeutroSpec is “radiolabeled,” meaning it carries technetium, a radioactive substance. When injected into the blood, NeutroSpec finds and binds to a certain receptor on neutrophils, white blood cells that the body uses to fight infection. Doctors can then locate the antibody and the infection site by using a device called a gamma camera. In case of hard to diagnose cases, the gamma camera pictures allow doctors to accurately see if the appendix is infected or not and permits them to treat the cause appropriately.

“NeutroSpec is easy, quick and reliable – and has no known risk,” says Mathew Thakur, Ph.D., professor of radiology and radiation oncology and director of radiopharmaceutical research at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, who holds a patent on the antibody and who invented and patented the antibody radiolabeling process.

In 1976, Dr. Thakur, then at the Medical Research Council at Hammersmith Hospital in London, and his colleagues invented a procedure that allowed nuclear medicine physicians and scientists to label such infection fighting blood cells for the first time outside the patient’s body. The procedure continues to be used routinely around the world to find unknown infections in the body, he says.

But labeling cells outside the body is “lengthy, cumbersome and requires technical skills,” says Dr.Thakur. It poses potential risk in handling blood as well as accidentally injecting a blood product into another patient with infection, and requires 24 hours to get accurate results after the labeled cells are injected back into the patient.

Neutrospec, which labels the cells inside the patient’s body, also provides results in less than one hour. During clinical trials, NeutroSpec accurately detected appendicitis 60 percent of the time in less than 5 minutes after injection and nearly 100 percent of appendicitis cases were diagnosed within an hour. “This is a tremendous advantage to the management of patients’ condition,” says Dr.Thakur, who began his research on NeutroSpec in 1984 and did the first clinical feasibility study in 1991.

Dr. Thakur says the new technique will have broad applications. Approximately 15 percent to 30 percent of all appendectomies are unnecessary because the appendix is actually normal. Neutrospec, in helping physicians rapidly and accurately diagnose appendicitis in cases without straightforward symptoms can reduce the number of unneeded surgeries.

“The radiolabeled antibody will enable physicians to pinpoint infections in a number of tissue types,” he says. “It could also be used for patients who have fevers of unknown origin, bone infections (osteomyelitis) and diabetic foot infections.”

NeutroSpec will be marketed by Mallinckrodt Imaging, a business unit of Tyco Healthcare, a global medical products company. Jefferson previously licensed its patents to Palatin Technologies, Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., which subsequently entered into a marketing and distribution agreement with Mallinckrodt. The original antibody was obtained from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.

Media Contact

Steven Benowitz EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.jeffersonhospital.org

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

How Stable is the Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Scientists from Heidelberg University investigate which factors determine the stability of ice masses in East Antarctica. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is…

Smart sensors for future fast charging batteries

European project “Spartacus” launched Faster charging, longer stability of performance not only for electric vehicles but also for smartphones and other battery powered products. What still sounds like science fiction…

Small molecules control bacterial resistance to antibiotics

Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine by providing effective treatments for infectious diseases such as cholera. But the pathogens that cause disease are increasingly developing resistance to the antibiotics that are most…

Partners

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close