Medical researchers are today coming up with new understandings of the molecular processes that cause disease to a degree never before possible. Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease, among many others, are now being studied at the cellular and molecular level, unlocking the microscopic reactions that ultimately lead to pathology.
These discoveries represent a boon to researchers, but pose something of a conundrum to doctors and drug researchers who desperately want to take advantage of the new-found knowledge. If you're a doctor, for example, what way do you have of knowing if these critical but hidden processes are taking place in a patient's cells? Is your only option to wait until the patient gets sick, developing clearly recognizable symptoms? By then, it may be too late to effectively treat the disease. If you're a drug researcher, are there more exact ways of tracking a drug's reaction than simply seeing if patients get better?
Positron emission tomography (PET) is by far the most effective way of seeing the subtle chemical reactions going on inside the body. The technology detects rays given off by a positron-emitting radionuclide (tracer). But the tracer must be able to somehow integrate itself into the process being evaluated, and it must do it in such a way that the signals can be interpreted to provide the answers sought.
FluoroPharma Medical is developing the much needed tracer chemicals that do exactly that. The company currently offers three tracer products for the identification of processes related to cardiovascular disease, one of the biggest disease markets in the world. In addition, it is in the process of developing an imaging agent that attaches to the amyloid deposits (plaque) in the brain, making them visible on a PET scan, thus allowing the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.
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