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Molecular imaging current events recap

Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 14, 2021
Molecular Imaging
From the June 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

"We hypothesized that due to the highly restricted availability of testing, only high-yield patients will undergo SPECT-MPI, while those expected to be normal would be delayed," the authors wrote. "However, we did not find any statistically or clinically significant increase in the rate of abnormal SPECT-MPI or that of myocardial ischemia during this period."

Exams like SPECT-MPI were postponed in accordance with guidelines issued by both the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging during the pandemic, leading to significant restrictions.

Comparing the results of 210 patients who underwent SPECT-MPI in March and April 2020 to those of 1,106 who underwent the exam around the same time in 2019, the researchers found SPECT-MPI volumes at the hospital fell from 553 per month to 105, a decrease of 81%. The proportion of abnormal results, however, only dipped from 31% at the baseline to 27% at the peak.

"Significantly more studies were performed for symptom evaluation, and [fewer] studies were done for preoperative evaluation, which corresponded to a change in the referral pattern favoring studies referred by cardiology and primary care or internal medicine versus transplant services,” wrote the authors.

FDA gives nod to first PSMA-targeted PET tracer for prostate cancer
In December, the FDA approved the use of Gallium 68 PSMA-11 PET scans on patients with suspected prostate cancer metastasis or suspected prostate cancer recurrence.

“With this first approval of a PSMA-targeted PET imaging drug for men with prostate cancer, providers now have a new imaging approach to detect whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body,” said Dr. Alex Gorovets, acting deputy director of the office of specialty medicine in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement.

The aim is to identify those who potentially could benefit from surgery or radiation therapy. The drug is administered as an intravenous injection that binds to the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), of which prostate cancer cells usually show high levels. It then emits positrons that the PET scan picks up on to show the presence of PSMA-positive cancer lesions in the tissues of the body.

With the drug, providers expect to be able to spare patients from unnecessary surgeries and locate biochemical evidence of recurrent prostate cancer that can help them prescribe the best course of treatment. It also is expected to overcome the limitations of CT, MR and bone scans in identifying prostate cancer lesions.

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