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See detailEvaluation of [18F]UCB-H as a novel PET tracer for synaptic vesicle protein 2A in the brain.
Warnock, Geoffrey; Aerts, Joël ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

in Journal of Nuclear Medicine (The) (2014), 55(8), 1336-1341

Synaptic vesicle 2 (SV2) proteins are critical to proper nervous system function and are involved in vesicle trafficking. The SV2A isoform has been identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic ... [more ▼]

Synaptic vesicle 2 (SV2) proteins are critical to proper nervous system function and are involved in vesicle trafficking. The SV2A isoform has been identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic levetiracetam (LEV), making it an interesting therapeutic target for epilepsy. [18F]UCB-H is a novel PET imaging agent with a nanomolar affinity for human SV2A. Methods: preclinical PET studies were carried out in isoflurane anesthetized rats. Arterial input function was measured using an arteriovenous shunt and beta microprobe system. [18F]UCB-H was injected IV (140 ± 20 MBq bolus). Results: brain uptake of [18F]UCB-H was high, matching the expected homogeneous distribution of SV2A. The distribution volume (Vt) for [18F]UCB-H was calculated using Logan’s graphical analysis and the effect of LEV pretreatment on Vt measured. In control animals the mean whole-brain Vt was 9.76 ± 0.52 ml/cm3 (mean ± SD, n=4, test-retest), and the mean reproducibility in test-retest studies was 10.4 ± 6.5 %. Uptake of [18F]UCB-H was dose-dependently blocked by pretreatment with LEV (0.1 - 100 mg/kg IV). Conclusion: our results indicate that [18F]UCB-H is a suitable radiotracer for the imaging of SV2A in vivo. This is the first PET tracer for in vivo quantification of SV2A. The necessary steps for implementation of [18F]UCB-H production under GMP conditions and first in human studies are planned. [less ▲]

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See detail[18F]UCB-H AS A NEW PET RADIOTRACER FOR SYNAPTIC VESICLE PROTEIN 2A
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Bastin, Christine ULg; Aerts, Joël ULg et al

Poster (2014, June 06)

Synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) is widely distributed in the brain and has been demonstrated to be involved in vesicle trafficking. The critical role of SV2A in proper nervous system function is shown ... [more ▼]

Synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) is widely distributed in the brain and has been demonstrated to be involved in vesicle trafficking. The critical role of SV2A in proper nervous system function is shown, for example, by the fact that it is a binding site and the primary mechanism of levetiracetam. Levetiracetam is an antiepileptic drug which has recently been suggested to reduce synaptic deficits in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease and to improve cognition in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. We here aimed to investigate the cerebral distribution of [18F]UCB-H, a fluorine-18 radiolabelled PET imaging tracer, which has a high affinity with the SV2A. [18F]UCB-H was radiosynthesized under GMP conditions. Dynamic PET data of the head of four healthy volunteers were acquired over 100 minutes after injection of 170.4 ± 24.9 MBq of [18F]UCB-H. The arterial input function was obtained by blood sampling during the dynamic PET acquisition. The analysis of the blood data reveled a consistent amount of [18F]UCB-H in whole blood and plasma which indicates a very low degree of binding of the tracer to the red blood cells. The unchanged fraction of [18F]UCB-H in plasma showed a bi-exponential behavioral decrease with a starting fraction of 92% of the injected amount of the tracer, measured at 3 min post injection. This fraction decreased to about 50% at 10 min post injection. The [18F]UCB-H PET data showed a high and rapid uptake in the grey matter structures, matching the known ubiquitous distribution of the SV2A in the brain. The kinetics of the tracer in the brain was characterized by an initial high uptake phase followed by rapid washout allowing the standard compartmental modeling (1-tissue compartment, 2-tissue compartment, and Logan graphical analysis). The three models gave consistent results. The two-tissue compartment model fitted the experimental data best and provided a total distribution volume of the [18F]UCB-H in the brain greater than 7 mL/cm3 and a specific distribution volume around 3 mL/cm3. Our results suggest that [18F]UCB-H is a good candidate as radiotracer for brain SV2A proteins and could be used for human studies. In the future, SV2A modifications might be assessed in neurological pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease. [less ▲]

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See detail[18F]UCB-H AS A BRAIN SV2A RADIOTRACER: A FIRST CLINICAL TRIAL
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Bastin, Christine ULg; Aerts, Joël ULg et al

Poster (2014, May 27)

[18F]UCB-H is a fluorine-18 radiolabelled PET imaging tracer with a high affinity for the synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A). This protein, involved in vesicle trafficking and widely distributed in the ... [more ▼]

[18F]UCB-H is a fluorine-18 radiolabelled PET imaging tracer with a high affinity for the synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A). This protein, involved in vesicle trafficking and widely distributed in the brain, represents the binding site and the primary mechanism of the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam. Levetiracetam has recently been suggested to reduce synaptic deficits in a mouse Alzheimer’s disease model and to improve cognition in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, suggesting a possible role for this protein in synaptic integrity. The objective of this study was to investigate the cerebral distribution of [18F]UCB-H in healthy human volunteers. Dynamic PET imaging of the head of four healthy volunteers was performed over 100 minutes after injection of 170.4 ± 24.9 MBq of GMP produced [18F]UCB-H. The input function was acquired by arterial blood sampling during the dynamic PET acquisition. Blood data analysis showed a consistent tracer amount in whole blood and plasma indicating a very low degree of binding of the tracer to the red blood cells. Unchanged [18F]UCB-H fraction in plasma follows a bi-exponential behavioral decrease with a starting fraction of 92% of the injected amount of the tracer, measured at 3 min post injection. This fraction decreases to about 50% at 10 min post injection. The [18F]UCB-H PET data revealed a high and rapid uptake in the grey matter structures, matching the known ubiquitous distribution of SV2A in the brain. The kinetics of the tracer in the brain was characterized by an initial high uptake phase followed by rapid washout allowing the standard compartmental modeling (1-tissue compartment, 2-tissue compartment, and Logan graphical analysis). The three models gave consistent results. The two-tissue compartment model fitted the experimental data best and provided a total distribution volume of [18F]UCB-H in the brain greater than 7 mL/cm3 and a specific distribution volume around 3 mL/cm3. Our results indicate that [18F]UCB-H is a new radiotracer for brain SV2A proteins suitable for human studies. Further studies are warranted to assess SV2A modifications in neurological pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease. [less ▲]

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See detailHybrid MicroPET Imaging for Dosimetric Applications in Mice: Improvement of Activity Quantification in Dynamic MicroPET Imaging for Accelerated Dosimetry Applied to 6-[ 18 F] Fluoro- L -DOPA and 2-[ 18 F]Fluoro- L -Tyrosine
Bretin, Florian ULg; Mauxion, T; Warnock, G et al

in Molecular Imaging and Biology (2014), 16(3), 383-394

Purpose: Dynamic microPET imaging has advantages over traditional organ harvesting, but is pronetoquantificationerrorsinsmallvolumes.Hybridimaging,wheremicroPETactivitiesarecross- calibrated using post ... [more ▼]

Purpose: Dynamic microPET imaging has advantages over traditional organ harvesting, but is pronetoquantificationerrorsinsmallvolumes.Hybridimaging,wheremicroPETactivitiesarecross- calibrated using post scan harvested organs, can improve quantification. Organ harvesting, dynamic imaging and hybrid imaging were applied to determine the human and mouse radiation dosimetry of 6-[18 F]fluoro-L-DOPA and 2-[18 F]fluoro-L-tyrosine and compared. Procedures: Two-hour dynamic microPET imaging was performed with both tracers in four separate mice for 18 F-FDOPA and three mice for 18 F-FTYR. Organ harvesting was performed at 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 and 120 min post tracer injection with n=5 at each time point for 18 F-FDOPA and n=3 at each time point for 18 F-FTYR. Human radiation dosimetry projected from animal data was calculated for the three different approaches for each tracer using OLINDA/EXM. S- factors for the MOBY phantom were used to calculate the animal dosimetry. Results: Correlations between dose estimates based on organ harvesting and imaging was improved from r=0.997 to r=0.999 for 18 F-FDOPA and from r=0.985 to r=0.996 (p<0.0001 for all) for 18 F-FTYR by using hybrid imaging. Conclusion: Hybrid imaging yields comparable results to traditional organ harvesting while partially overcoming the limitations of pure imaging. It is an advantageous technique in terms of number of animals needed and labour involved. [less ▲]

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See detailPerformance evaluation and X-ray dose quantification for various scanning protocols of the GE eXplore 120 micro-CT
Bretin, Florian ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey; Luxen, André ULg et al

in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (2013), 60(5), 3235-3241

The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the General Electric eXplore 120 micro-CT regarding image quality and delivered dose of several protocols. Image quality (resolution, linearity ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the General Electric eXplore 120 micro-CT regarding image quality and delivered dose of several protocols. Image quality (resolution, linearity, uniformity and geometric accuracy) was assessed using the vmCT phantom developed for the GE eXplore Ultra, the QRM low contrast and the QRM Bar Pattern Phantom. All dose measurements were performed using a mobileMOSFET dose verification system and the CTDI100 and the MSAD were determined with a custom built PMMA phantom. Additionally, in vivo scans in sacrificed rats with different weights were acquired to assess dose, contrast and resolution variation due to X-ray absorption in surrounding tissue. The spatial resolution was determined as between 95 and 138 μm with a geometric accuracy of 0.1%. The system has a highly linear response to the iodine concentrations (0.937 to 30 mg/ml) for all protocols. The calculated CTDI100 ranged from 20.15 to 56.79 mGy and the MSAD from 27.98 to 77.45 mGy. The results were confirmed by in vivo scans in rats with different weights and no impact of body weight on delivered dose could be observed. However, body weight had a slight impact on image contrast and resolution. [less ▲]

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See detailIn vivo PET/CT in a human glioblastoma chicken chorioallantoic membrane model: A new tool for oncology and radiotracer development.
Warnock, Geoffrey; Turtoi, Andrei ULg; Blomme, Arnaud ULg et al

in Journal of Nuclear Medicine : Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine (2013), 54(10), 1782-1788

For many years the laboratory mouse has been used as the standard model for in vivo oncology research, particularly in the development of novel PET tracers, but the growth of tumors on chicken ... [more ▼]

For many years the laboratory mouse has been used as the standard model for in vivo oncology research, particularly in the development of novel PET tracers, but the growth of tumors on chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) provides a more rapid, low cost and ethically sustainable alternative. For the first time, we demonstrate the feasibility of in vivo PET and CT imaging in a U87 glioblastoma tumor model on chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), with the aim of applying this model for screening of novel PET tracers. Methods: U87 glioblastoma cells were implanted on the CAM at day 11 post-fertilization and imaged at day 18. A small animal imaging cell was used to maintain incubation and allow anesthesia using isoflurane. Radiotracers were injected directly into the exposed CAM vasculature. Sodium [18F]fluoride was used to validate the imaging protocol, demonstrating that image-degrading motion can be removed with anesthesia. Tumor glucose metabolism was imaged using [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose and tumor protein synthesis was imaged using 2-[18F]fluoro-L-tyrosine. Anatomical images were obtained by contrast enhanced CT, facilitating clear delineation of the tumor, delineation of tracer uptake in tumor versus embryo and accurate volume measurements. Results: PET imaging of tumor glucose metabolism and protein synthesis was successfully demonstrated in the CAM U87 glioblastoma model. Catheterization of CAM blood vessels facilitated dynamic imaging of glucose metabolism with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose and demonstrated the ability to study PET tracer uptake over time in individual tumors, while CT imaging improved the accuracy of tumor volume measurements. Conclusion: In summary, we describe the novel application of PET/CT in the CAM tumor model, with optimization of typical imaging protocols. PET imaging in this valuable tumor model could prove particularly useful for rapid, high-throughput screening of novel radiotracers. [less ▲]

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See detailPreclinical radiation dosimetry for the novel SV2A radiotracer [18F]UCB-H
Bretin, Florian ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

in European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research (2013), 3(1), 35

Background: [18F]UCB-H was developed as a novel radiotracer with a high affinity for synaptic vesicle protein 2A, the binding site for the antiepileptic levetiracetam. The objectives of this study were to ... [more ▼]

Background: [18F]UCB-H was developed as a novel radiotracer with a high affinity for synaptic vesicle protein 2A, the binding site for the antiepileptic levetiracetam. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the radiation dosimetry of [18F]UCB-H in a preclinical trial and to determine the maximum injectable dose according to guidelines for human biomedical research. The radiation dosimetry was derived by organ harvesting and dynamic micro positron emission tomography (PET) imaging in mice, and the results of both methods were compared. Methods: Twenty-four male C57BL-6 mice were injected with 6.96 ± 0.81 MBq of [18F]UCB-H, and the biodistribution was determined by organ harvesting at 2, 5, 10, 30, 60, and 120 min (n = 4 for each time point). Dynamic microPET imaging was performed on five male C57BL-6 mice after the injection of 9.19 ± 3.40 MBq of [18F]UCB-H. A theoretical dynamic bladder model was applied to simulate urinary excretion. Human radiation dose estimates were derived from animal data using the International Commission on Radiological Protection 103 tissue weighting factors. Results: Based on organ harvesting, the urinary bladder wall, liver and brain received the highest radiation dose with a resulting effective dose of 1.88E-02 mSv/MBq. Based on dynamic imaging an effective dose of 1.86E-02 mSv/MBq was calculated, with the urinary bladder wall and liver (brain was not in the imaging field of view) receiving the highest radiation. Conclusions: This first preclinical dosimetry study of [18F]UCB-H showed that the tracer meets the standard criteria for radiation exposure in clinical studies. The dose-limiting organ based on US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European guidelines was the urinary bladder wall for FDA and the effective dose for Europe with a maximum injectable single dose of approximately 325 MBq was calculated. Although microPET imaging showed significant deviations from organ harvesting, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient between radiation dosimetry derived by either method was 0.9666. [less ▲]

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See detailRadiosynthesis and first small animal microPET imaging of [18F]UCB-H, a new fluorine-18 labelled tracer targeting synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A)
Aerts, Joël ULg; Otabashi, Muhamed; Giacomelli, Fabrice ULg et al

Conference (2013)

Aim. We report the radiosynthesis and first rat microPET imaging of a new fluorine-18 tracer targeting the synaptic vesicle protein 2A, SV2A, identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic drug ... [more ▼]

Aim. We report the radiosynthesis and first rat microPET imaging of a new fluorine-18 tracer targeting the synaptic vesicle protein 2A, SV2A, identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic drug levetiracetam. Materials and Method. Two different nucleophilic radiosynthesis pathways were tested to obtain [18F]UCB-H, a no-carrier-added tracer in the 2-[18F]fluoropyridine family. The methods were automated on FastLab™ synthesizers. PET studies in rodents were carried out using male SD rats, imaged under isoflurane anaesthesia in a Siemens Concorde Focus 120 microPET scanner. Arterial input function was measured using an arteriovenous shunt method and beta microprobe system. All animal protocols were reviewed and accepted by animal ethical committees. Results and conclusion. A radiosynthesis yield of 30% was obtained (uncorrected for decay, 150 minutes of synthesis). Analytical methods were developed and validated to demonstrate that the quality of the tracer solution was compatible with in vivo injection. After intravenous injection, the tracer rapidly entered the brain, followed by rapid washout. PET imaging revealed high uptake of the tracer in the brain and spinal cord, matching the expected SV2A homogeneous distribution. Results indicate that [18F]UCB-H is suitable to quantify SV2A proteins in vivo and to estimate target occupancy of drugs targeting SV2A. Acknowledgments. The authors thank UCB Pharma SA Belgium for collaboration and the Walloon Region Belgium and the FRNS Belgium for financial support. [less ▲]

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See detailPerformance Evaluation of the GE eXplore CT 120 Micro-CT for Various Scanning Protocols
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Bretin, Florian ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey ULg et al

Poster (2012, November 03)

The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the General Electric (GE) eXplore CT 120 micro-CT using the same methodology and image quality assurance vmCT phantom developed for the GE eXplore ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of the General Electric (GE) eXplore CT 120 micro-CT using the same methodology and image quality assurance vmCT phantom developed for the GE eXplore Ultra. In addition, Quality assurance in Radiology and Medicine (QRM) low contrast and bar pattern phantoms were used. The phantoms were imaged using the six protocols regularly used in our laboratory (Fast scan 220 (P1) or 360 (P2): 70 kV, 32 mA, 220 or 360 views; Soft tissue fast scan (P3): 70 kV, 50 mA, 220 views, Soft tissue step & shoot (P4): 80 kV, 32 mA, 220 views; Low Noise (P5): 100 kV, 50 mA, 720 views and In Vivo Bone scan (P6): 100 kV, 50 mA, 360 views). Data were reconstructed with an isotropic voxel size of 100 µm (50 µm when protocol detector-binning was reduced to 2x2). The MTF obtained with the slanted edge and coil methods agreed very well. A 10% modulation transfer function (MTF) was observed in the range 3.6-4.8 mm-1 (P1&2 = 4.2; P3&4 = 4.8; P5 = 3.6 and P6 = 3.8), corresponding to 95-138 µm resolutions. The smallest bars visually observed on the QRM pattern phantom image were 100 µm. The geometric accuracy was better than 0.1%. A highly linear (R2 > 0.999) relationship between measured and expected CT numbers for both the CT number accuracy and linearity sections of the phantom was observed with a voltage dependent slope. A cupping effect was observed on the uniform slices. This effect was clearly highlighted by the uniformity-to-noise ratio (P1 = 0.58, P2&3&4 = 0.75, P5 = 1.35 and P6 = 2.74) especially for the low-noise protocols P5 and P6. The best low contrast discrimination was observed for P2 and P5 protocols. In conclusion the eXplore CT 120 achieved a resolution in the range 95-138 µm. It was found to be linear and geometrically accurate. The major difference between the protocols was the noise level which limits the detectability of low contrasts. [less ▲]

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See detailDosimetry for 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA in Humans Based on Biodistribution in Mice
Bretin, Florian ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

Poster (2012, October)

Aim. The objective of this work was to estimate human dosimetry for 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA (F-DOPA) from biodistribution in mice, obtained from organ harvesting at different time points and from a hybrid ... [more ▼]

Aim. The objective of this work was to estimate human dosimetry for 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA (F-DOPA) from biodistribution in mice, obtained from organ harvesting at different time points and from a hybrid method combining dynamic PET followed by organ harvesting. Materials and methods. The tissue distribution of F-DOPA over time was determined in isoflurane-anaesthetized mice. Radioassay was performed on harvested organs at 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 and 120 minutes post administration (n = 5 at each time point). Dynamic PET images were acquired in list-mode with a Siemens FOCUS 120 microPET for 120 minutes after injection and followed by radioassay of harvested organs (n = 4). List-mode data were histogrammed in 6*5s, 6*10s, 3*20s, 5*30s, 5*60s, 8*150s, 6*300s, 6*600s 3D sinograms. Final images were obtained using filtered backprojection with correction for all physical effects except for scatter. Attenuation correction resulted from a pre-injection transmission scan with a cobalt-57 point source. Organs were manually delineated. The organ time-activity-curves (TACs) from both methods were extrapolated from a simulated 35 g standard mouse to a 70 kg standard male human using a technique based on organ to bodyweight ratios. A bladder voiding scenario was used to simulate excretion every 2 h. The absorbed doses in major human organs were calculated using the extrapolated TACs with the commercially available software OLINDA/EXM (Version 1.1). Results. The extrapolated organ activity curves obtained using the harvesting and imaging methods showed a high correlation (r = 0.94 ± 0.05, p < 0.001). However, TACs from PET alone under- or overestimated the activity in individual organs in contrast to TACs obtained using the cross-calibration of the PET data with the activity in post-scan dissected organs. Those organs in the excretion pathways, comprising bladder wall, kidneys and liver, received the highest organ doses. The total body absorbed dose was 0.0118 mGy/MBq for both the imaging based and harvesting based methods. The effective dose was 0.0193 mSv/MBq for the hybrid imaging-harvesting technique and 0.0189 mSv/MBq for the pure harvesting technique. Conclusion. The doses obtained agreed well with the few results available in the literature. The hybrid technique combining dynamic PET scanning followed by organ harvesting appeared to be a good alternative to the gold standard ex vivo radioassay method. It is much faster and minimizes the effect of some weakness of the pure imaging technique, such as partial volume effect. [less ▲]

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See detailIn Ovo PET Imaging Of A Human Colorectal Carcinoma Model In Chicken Chorioallantoic Membrane
Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Turtoi, Andrei ULg; Blomme, Arnaud ULg et al

Poster (2012, October)

Aim. The objective of this study was to use in vivo PET/CT imaging as a validation tool for a novel human colorectal carcinoma model being developed in chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). For this ... [more ▼]

Aim. The objective of this study was to use in vivo PET/CT imaging as a validation tool for a novel human colorectal carcinoma model being developed in chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). For this initial pilot study a cell line modeling colon cancer was selected and imaged using [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). <br />Materials and methods. A window was made in the shell of fertilized chicken eggs and 3x106 SW1222 human colorectal carcinoma cells were implanted at day 10 post-fertilization. On day 17 the shell window was enlarged to allow direct injection of FDG (12.2 ± 4.5 MBq/egg) into a CAM blood vessel. During injection the egg was warmed on a heating pad. A mixture of ketamine/medetomidine (50 :1 mg/ml, 0.2 ml/egg) was injected into the albumin in some eggs to assess the effect of anesthesia. After FDG injection the egg was returned to the incubator for a 45 min uptake period before imaging. Imaging was performed on a Siemens Focus 120 microPET with structural CT on a General Electric eXplore CT120. A Minerve cell system allowed reproducible positioning between modalities. PET data was acquired in list mode before histogramming into a single 10 min frame for reconstruction using a 3D maximum a posteriori (MAP) method with all corrections except scatter. A standard 100 µm (theoretical) image resolution protocol (70 kV, 50 mA, 32 ms, 220 views) was used to obtain structural CT data. Image coregistration was performed in PMOD version 3.3. In a separate egg, the influence of added contrast on the CT data was investigated by adding iodinated contrast agent (Iobitridol 35 mgI/ml) to the albumin. <br />Results. FDG uptake was clear in chick and tumor, with notably high uptake at the major joints. Tumors were identified by localization of FDG uptake on the surface of the CAM. A lack of soft tissue contrast between tumor, CAM and albumin made precise structural identification of the tumor difficult. Anesthesia was crucial to image quality in both PET and CT. CT contrast between the soft tissues of the chick and surrounding albumin/structures was improved by addition of contrast agent. <br />Conclusion. For the first time we demonstrate successful imaging of FDG uptake in a human colorectal carcinoma chicken CAM model in ovo. Methods to improve structural data are under investigation and will be used in further studies. With such improvement, this model could be of great value to PET oncology imaging. [less ▲]

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See detailCHARACTERIZATION OF A NOVEL RADIOTRACER TARGETING SYNAPTIC VESICLE PROTEIN 2A (SV2A)
Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Aerts, Joël ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

Poster (2012, September)

Synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) has been identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic levetiracetam (Keppra) [1]. SV2 proteins are critical for proper nervous system function and have been ... [more ▼]

Synaptic vesicle protein 2A (SV2A) has been identified as the binding site of the antiepileptic levetiracetam (Keppra) [1]. SV2 proteins are critical for proper nervous system function and have been demonstrated to be involved in vesicle trafficking. Their implication in epilepsy makes them an interesting therapeutic target, and the widespread distribution of SV2A in particular may provide an opportunity to develop a PET-based measure of neuronal function in brain diseases. [18F]UCB-H is a fluorine-18 radiolabelled PET imaging agent with a nanomolar affinity for the human SV2A protein. Preclinical PET studies in rodents were carried out using male SD rats, imaged under isoflurane anaesthesia in a Siemens Concorde Focus 120 microPET scanner. Arterial input function was measured using an arteriovenous shunt method and beta microprobe system. [18F]UCB-H was injected IV (3.8 ± 0.54 mCi bolus, specific activity 8.5 ± 0.86 Ci/Emol immediately after synthesis) and dynamic PET data acquired in list mode for 90 min. Images were reconstructed using filtered back projection with correction for all physical effects except scatter. These scans revealed high uptake of [18F]UCB-H in brain and spinal cord, matching the expected homogeneous distribution of SV2A in the rodent brain [2]. Notably, the kinetics of [18F]UCB-H uptake in the brain were fast, peaking at up to 30 % ID/cm3 before a rapid decline. Metabolism of [18F]UCB-H in vivo followed a typical pattern of rapid initial metabolism followed by a reducing rate of metabolism over time, with less than 20% of the activity in plasma attributable to the parent compound after 30 minutes, and was highly reproducible between subjects. One major metabolite was identified. The uptake of [18F]UCB-H in the brain over time was well fitted by a classical 1-tissue compartment model. Mean parameter estimates (mean ± SD, n=7, whole brain VOI) were K1: 3.58 ± 0.65 ml/cm3/min, k2: 0.21 ± 0.03 min-1, Vt: 17.21 ± 2.52 ml/cm3. Uptake of [18F]UCB-H was blocked by pretreatment with brivaracetam (21 mg/kg IV, 10 min prior to [18F]UCB-H), a recently described high affinity SV2A ligand with a 20-fold higher affinity for SV2A than levetiracetam [3]. In contrast, pretreatment with ucb-100230-1, a diastereoisomer of brivaracetam with 3200-fold lower affinity for SV2A [3], had no clear effect of the brain uptake of [18F]UCB-H. Our results indicate that [18F]UCB-H is a suitable radiotracer for the quantification of SV2A proteins in vivo and for estimating target occupancy of drugs targeting SV2A. This is the first PET tracer for in vivo quantification of SV2A. The necessary steps for implementation of [18F]UCB-H production under GMP conditions have been completed and first in human studies are planned. References [1] Lynch, B.A. et al. (2004) PNAS 101(26):9861-6. [2] Janz, R. & Sudhof, T.C. (1999) Neuroscience 94(4):1279-1290.[3] Gillard, M. et al. (2011) Eur J Pharmacol 664:36-44. [less ▲]

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See detailMicroPET Focus 120 scanner use at high-­‐count rate
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Taleb, Dounia ULg et al

Poster (2012, September)

Kinetic modeling of physiological processes using imaging techniques requires an accurate measurement of the time-activity curve of the tracer in plasma, known as the arterial input function (IF). The IF ... [more ▼]

Kinetic modeling of physiological processes using imaging techniques requires an accurate measurement of the time-activity curve of the tracer in plasma, known as the arterial input function (IF). The IF can be obtained by manual blood sampling, can be derived from PET images, or continuously measured by the use of small counting systems such as beta microprobes [1]. However, some beta microprobe systems can suffering from high background counts and low sensitivity compared to PET can obligate the use of activities higher than those typical for the imaging system. In the present study, the NEMA NU4-2008 image quality (IQ) phantom [2] was used to evaluate the image quality of the microPET Focus 120 at high activity values. Attenuation correction was obtained from transmission measurement using 57Co point source. Eight emission scans of 20 minutes were performed at decreasing activity starting from 109 MBq to 3.7 MBq (total activity in the field-of-view). To study the effect of normalization in high count rate studies, several normalization scans were performed using activities ranging between 18 and 212 MBq. Images were reconstructed with all corrections using Fourier rebinning and filtered backprojection. The mean activity and the coefficients of variation of the uniform slices were measured. All high activity reconstructed images showed a detector-block-patterned artifact with an overestimation of the counts when normalization activity is higher than that used in the IQ phantom and underestimation of the counts when normalization activity is below the activity used in the IQ phantom. Using the same high activity for acquisition and normalization considerably reduces the patterned-artifact but does not eliminate it entirely. The observed artifact is due to pulse pile-up in the detectors at high count-rates. A dedicated rejection of the pulse pile-up does not appear to have been implemented for the microPET Focus 120. An alternative would be to re-calibrate the detectors with higher activity values to prevent any pile-up effect or to create an attenuation volume into which phantoms or small animals could be inserted thus decreasing the artifact. This latter option is under development. References: [1] G. Warnock et al, European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research, 1-13 (2011) [2] NEMA Standards Publication NU4-2008. Rosslyn, VA: National Electrical Manufacturers Association; (2008). [less ▲]

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See detailSmall animal imaging with human PET
Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Tombuloglu, S; Warnock, Geoffrey ULg et al

Poster (2012, September)

PET studies provide valuable information in the assessment of animal models for human diseases. MicroPET systems provide the high resolution needed to explore small organs but suffer from a reduced axial ... [more ▼]

PET studies provide valuable information in the assessment of animal models for human diseases. MicroPET systems provide the high resolution needed to explore small organs but suffer from a reduced axial FOV. Multiple bed positions are then used to obtain whole body scans resulting in increased scan time and incomplete dynamic data. In contrast, human PET systems have larger axial FOV but a lower resolution. In this study, an image-based model of the scanner spatial response function combined with a 3D-OSEM reconstruction algorithm were used to improve spatial resolution of the Siemens ECAT EXACT HR+ PET scanner. A stationary double Gaussian model [1] of the ECAT EXACT HR+ point spread function was derived from 18F point source measurements performed at different radial and axial locations in the scanner FOV. This model was used in a 3D-OSEM reconstruction (3D-OSEM-RM). Sinograms were normalized and attenuation and scatter corrected using the Siemens ECAT tools before reconstruction. Both NEMA NU 2-1994 performance phantoms and NEMA NU4-2008 image quality phantom mimicking small animals were used to evaluate the accuracy of corrections for physical effects and the overall image quality. A 50 min dynamic FDG rat study was conducted on the ECAT HR+ and reconstructed with 3D-OSEM-RM. The images were used to compute the metabolic rate of glucose (MRglu) in multiple brain structures. These images were also visually compared to the static image obtained with a FOCUS 120 microPET immediately after the HR+ dynamic scan. The standard deviations of the two Gaussians used to model the transaxial (axial) resolution in a central FOV of 5 cm radius were σ1 = 1.6 (2.75) mm and σ2 = 3.66 (4.16) mm, and the ratio of the weights between the first and second Gaussians was ρ = 0.2 (0.7). Image uniformity and accuracy of scatter and attenuation corrections, evaluated following NEMA NU 2-1994, were found to be very similar between 3D-OSEM, 3D-OSEM-RM, 2D- and 3D-FBP reconstructed images. When using the NEMA NU4-2008 image quality phantom a significant increase of the hot rod recovery coefficient was observed. This effect was rod size dependent and amounted to 17-35% for the 3D-OSEM-RM compared to the 3D-OSEM and to 35-62% compared to the FBP reconstructions. Nevertheless the values obtained with 3D-OSEM-RM were around 20-35% lower than those obtained with the FOCUS 120 microPET scanner. Most of the small brain structures observed on microPET images were also visible on the images obtained with the HR+ scanner and 3D-OSEM-RM. Rat cerebral MRglu values calculated on 3D-OSEM-RM images were in the range of published values [2] (e.g. whole brain = 25.34 μmol/min/100g). Using an approximate model of the ECAT EXACT HR+ spatial response in 3D-OSEM resulted in sufficient image quality for dynamic whole body scans of small rodents, despite the large FOV, and resulted in improved contrast compared to images generated using the built-in software. This methodology will be applied for future small animal dosimetry and modeling studies in our laboratory. [1] Comtat et al. IEEE Nucl Sci Symp Conf Record. pp. 4120-4123 (2008) [2] Schiffer et al. J Nucl Med 48:277-287 (2007) [less ▲]

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See detailDosimetry for 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA in humans based on in vivo microPET scans and ex vivo tissue distribution in mice
Bretin, Florian ULg; Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

Poster (2012, September)

Radiation dosimetry of new radiopharmaceuticals generally starts with studies in small animals such as mice and rats. The traditional technique has long been ex vivo measurement of the biodistribution ... [more ▼]

Radiation dosimetry of new radiopharmaceuticals generally starts with studies in small animals such as mice and rats. The traditional technique has long been ex vivo measurement of the biodistribution over time using harvested organs at different times post administration of the radiopharmaceutical. Since this approach requires a significant amount of animals, dynamic microPET studies, where the biodistribution of the tracer over time can be determined in vivo in a single scan, are an invaluable alternative. Due to known imaging artifacts and limitations, such as partial volume effect, a hybrid technique combining harvesting organs (post-scan) and dynamic imaging was introduced to achieve a cross-calibration to account for these limitations. Since 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA is a widely used PET tracer to study the dopaminergic system in neurology and oncology and there is no sound published dosimetry data, absorbed doses for major organs in humans were estimated using the traditional ex vivo technique and by dynamic microPET imaging in mice, allowing direct comparison of the results from the two techniques. The tissue distribution over time of 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA was determined by radioassay of harvested organs at 2, 5, 10, 30, 60, 120 minutes post administration (n=5 at each time point) in isoflurane-anaesthetized mice. Dynamic PET images were acquired with a FOCUS 120 microPET for 120 minutes after injection of 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA followed by radioassay of harvested organs (n=4). A bladder voiding scenario was used to simulate excretion every 2 h. The organ time-activity-curves (TACs) from both methods were extrapolated from a simulated 35 g standard mouse to a 70 kg standard male human using a technique based on organ to bodyweight ratios. The absorbed doses in major human organs were calculated with the commercially available human dosimetry software OLINDA/EXM (Version 1.1) using the extrapolated TACs. The extrapolated organ TACs obtained using the two methods showed a high correlation (average r = 0.94 ± 0.05, p < 0.001). However, TACs from PET alone under- or overestimated the activity in individual organs in contrast to TACs obtained using the cross-calibration of the PET data with the activity in post-scan dissected organs. Those organs in the excretion pathways, comprising bladder wall, kidneys and liver, received the highest organ doses. The total body absorbed dose was 0.0118 mGy/MBq for both the imaging based and harvesting based methods. The effective dose was 0.0193 mSv/MBq for the hybrid imaging-harvesting technique and 0.0189 mSv/MBq for the pure harvesting technique. Scaling errors in the PET TACs are likely caused by quantification errors such as partial volume effects and image artifacts. The use of a hybrid imaging technique to cross-calibrate the TACs improved the accuracy of the imaging-based dosimetry estimates. Therefore the hybrid technique combining dynamic imaging and harvesting organs (post-scan) is a suitable alternative to the gold standard ex vivo radioassay method. It yields comparable results yet reduces significantly the amount of animals needed in the study and can accelerate data acquisition. [less ▲]

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See detailPET In Conscious Rodents - Quantification of Stress During The Training Process
Warnock, Geoffrey ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Bretin, Florian ULg et al

Poster (2012, September)

Recently several methods for performing PET studies in conscious rodents have been developed [1-3]. These methods have the potential to greatly improve the translational nature of PET studies in rodents ... [more ▼]

Recently several methods for performing PET studies in conscious rodents have been developed [1-3]. These methods have the potential to greatly improve the translational nature of PET studies in rodents. One of the most easily implemented methods is the training of a rat to tolerate head fixation in a restraining device. Training consists of intervals of restraint over several days. However, the stress induced by this training procedure has not been quantified in detail. Limited changes in plasma corticosterone have been reported, but this data may be confounded by sample timing and baseline levels. An implantable telemetry system (Telemetry Research) was used to remotely measure blood pressure, heart rate and core temperature during training. Transmitters were implanted in the abdominal cavity under isoflurane anesthesia, with the blood pressure sensor fixed in the abdominal aorta. Training was started after a recovery period of at least 1 week. Training consisted of a 5 min period of acclimatization in the cage containing the restraining device, followed by increasing durations of restraint in the device on subsequent training days (15, 30, 45, 60, 90 min). Telemetry data was acquired from 5 min prior to acclimatization to 60 minutes post-training. In this initial pilot study, a single rat was trained, without head fixation, for 4 consecutive days and again on day 7. All reported values are mean ± SEM across the five training days. In the home cage, prior to acclimatization, baseline heart rate (HR) was 294 ± 15 bpm. During the acclimatization period, HR was elevated to 411 ± 7 bpm. Immediately after starting training, HR was 419 ± 16 bpm. During the training period HR showed a tendency to decrease, with raised periods at undefined intervals. After return to the home cage, HR remained elevated for 15-20 min before returning to a value (313 ± 9 bpm) close to baseline. A similar pattern was seen in blood pressure (mean; BP). Baseline BP was 76 ± 7 mmHg, increasing to 94 ± 9 mmHg during acclimatization. After commencing training, a peak in BP was reached at 102 ± 8 mmHg. After the 15-20 min recovery interval, BP returned to a baseline of 77 ± 9 mmHg. The HR and BP responses to acclimatization and to the training protocol persisted throughout all training days, with the main noticeable difference being the number of bouts of increased HR, which increased with training duration. Core body temperature (baseline: 37.45 ± 0.21 °C) increased during restraint training, with a subsequent post-training peak (38.21 ± 0.03 °C). Measurement of core temp is complicated during longer training sessions by the need to charge the transmitter. This early data indicates that stress induced by the training procedure for conscious PET persists after several days of training. In subsequent studies the head will be fixed and the effect of the training on plasma corticosterone and central glucose metabolism (using [18F]FDG) will be examined. [1] Momosaki et al. (2004) Synapse 54:207–213 [2] Wyss et al. (2009) NeuroImage 48:339–347 [3] Itoh et al. (2009) J Nucl Med 50:749–756 [less ▲]

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