European radiologists bask in glow of MR blood pool images

June 1, 2007

Peripheral MR angiography is improved on first-pass imaging due to the high relaxivity of the MR blood pool agent Vasovist. The extended imaging window provided by the agent supports steady-state imaging not possible with other MR contrast media, producing ultrahigh spatial resolution MRA (second pass) demonstrating both arteries and veins in detail.

Peripheral MR angiography is improved on first-pass imaging due to the high relaxivity of the MR blood pool agent Vasovist. The extended imaging window provided by the agent supports steady-state imaging not possible with other MR contrast media, producing ultrahigh spatial resolution MRA (second pass) demonstrating both arteries and veins in detail.

The blood pool agent, highlighted on the exhibit floor of the European Congress of Radiology in March, is now available in Europe but not the U.S. Reviewers at the FDA have asked its developer, Epix Pharmaceuticals, for more clinical data before making a decision. In late February, Epix appealed the request, asking that the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research approve Vasovist on the merits of data already presented. This is the company's second appeal. The first, made last August to the FDA Office of Drugs, failed. The appeals go back to 2005, when the FDA issued an approvable letter regarding the agent but asked for more data.

Vasovist is now being sold in the European Union, Canada, Norway, Iceland, and Australia. Bayer Schering Pharma, which is marketing the agent outside the U.S. under a distribution agreement with Epix, is exploring the use of Vasovist in advanced applications. A leading candidate is the detection of pulmonary embolism following deep venous thrombosis. (Provided by Bayer Schering Pharma)