Non invasive imaging of inflamed macrophages within athersclerosis
The medical imaging science is reaching new heights. With most of the research so far within the anatomical arena we are moving into the physiologic and metabolic imaging. Identifying vulnerable plaques within the coronary artery is a separate field. Most of them are catheter based and invasive investigations.
We have ben searching for an ideal PET scan based metabolic imaging of atherosclerosis. Macrophages are the key elements in an inflamed plaque.
Can we take a photograph of these inflamed zones within the atherosclerotic plaque ?
- It seems we are approaching that possibility. Every time we screen a person for CAD we can risk stratify on the basis of percentage inflammation of their coronary artery or aorta .
- This will complement the CT or conventional angiogram .
- If this technology is perfected it can be useful in the evaluation of response to medical interventions .
- It could also tel us the significance of raised CRP /cytokines in other wise asymptomatic individuals
PET scan with newer tracers are constantly evolving . One such tracer is based on copper molecule 64cu-TNP.