Brain SPECT shows signs of growth

July 29, 1992

Shipments of Spectamine were interrupted at a most inopportunetime. Just as clinical demand for single-photon emission computedtomography brain agents was beginning to pick up, supplier IMPhas been forced to seek financial and manufacturing partners

Shipments of Spectamine were interrupted at a most inopportunetime. Just as clinical demand for single-photon emission computedtomography brain agents was beginning to pick up, supplier IMPhas been forced to seek financial and manufacturing partners toresurrect Spectamine. Contract production of the agent was shutdown by Medi-Physics this year after IMP of Schaumburg, IL, couldn'tpay the bills (SCAN 6/17/92).

Iodine-labeled Spectamine is one of only two SPECT brain radiopharmaceuticalsapproved by the Food and Drug Administration. The other, technetium-taggedCeretec, is manufactured by Medi-Physics' parent Amersham. A secondtechnetium brain agent, Du Pont's Neurolite, will likely be thenext agent to hit the U.S. market.

Although neurological multidetector SPECT cameras have beenaround for seven or eight years, most SPECT imaging activity hasbeen on the cardiac side. Demand for brain SPECT cameras has beenincreasing of late, however, as clinical experience with the agentsgrows.

"The first three-head camera was shown in 1985. Now, in1992, people are actually buying the three-head. They are buyingit for the promise of neurology," said James L. Besett, generalmanager of Picker International's nuclear medicine division.

Developments of neurological therapies are also stimulatingthe brain SPECT market, said IMP president James F. Lamb. Therapeuticagents for stroke and Alzheimer's disease, for instance, are inclinical trials. The nuclear medicine market will benefit fromthe need to monitor and evaluate these therapies, he said.

Other forces driving the market are advances in psychiatry,where drugs are already approved, and increased use of brain SPECTin trauma applications, Lamb said.