F-18 PET shows early diabetes risk

August 1, 2007

Prior to the onset of diabetes, the number of pancreatic beta cells declines. New preclinical research shows that these beta cells can be quantified noninvasively with a targeted molecular probe, thereby acting as an early marker for disease risk.

Prior to the onset of diabetes, the number of pancreatic beta cells declines. New preclinical research shows that these beta cells can be quantified noninvasively with a targeted molecular probe, thereby acting as an early marker for disease risk.

Earlier research used a carbon-based probe to target the vesicular monoamine transporter-2 (VMAT2), which is expressed by the beta cells of the pancreas. In order to generate a more widely applicable probe, Dr. Mei-Ping Kung and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania developed F-18 FP-DTBZ. They found that the F-18 ligand bound to VMAT2 targets, which were decreased in rats with diabetes. The research got a boost when it won the 2007 SNM "Small Animal Image of the Year" award.