A complex for improved imaging of the heart has been developed, which could save thousands of lives.
Isabel Santos and co-workers at the Institute of Nuclear Technology, Sacavém, Portugal, have made a technetium based complex, using a simple one step reaction, that can be used to image the heart more accurately than the state-of-the-art contrast agent.
The current 99mTc-sestamibi complex, used for imaging, is slow to clear the bloodstream and liver which makes it difficult to distinguish the heart from other non-targeted organs and surrounding tissues. Santos explains ‘due to the high incidence of cardiovascular diseases there is a need for good performing radiopharmaceuticals for rapid and accurate detection’ before a heart attack occurs.
Santos’s 99mTc tricarbonyl complex, with ether functionalisation, clears the blood and liver three times faster then the state-of-the-art in the clinical trials performed on rats, which allows for a much better contrast image between the heart and the liver, allowing for faster and more accurate diagnoses of coronary artery disease.
Francesco Tisato, an expert in the use of technetium in medical and biological chemistry at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Surfaces, Padova, Italy, says that the significant and persistent heart uptake with favourable clearance of the liver and lungs may help to improve heart imaging.
Santos goes on to say that the next stage of development is to test the complex in clinic trials to confirm its performance in humans.