February 10, 2000
UPTON, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and CTI, Inc., of Knoxsville, Tennessee, have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop a noninvasive blood monitor to be used in medical imaging. Information on metabolic rate, which the new device will help to measure, is important for diagnosing cancer, epilepsy and cardiac disorders.
The new blood monitor , which uses a previously patented detector, is attached to a cuff that clamps on to a patient's wrist. The device will allow physicians to obtain the rate of glucose metabolism in the blood without actually puncturing the patient's artery. The monitor would be used in positron emission tomography (PET), an imaging method in which radioactive tracers are injected into the patient, flow through the blood, and concentrate in areas that have increased blood flow, or active metabolism. The new detector would measure the radioactivity in the artery, and this data would be used to calculate glucose metabolism. At Brookhaven Lab, researchers use PET to study changes in the brain related to aging and drug addiction, among other research projects.
At present, metabolic rate is measured by inserting a catheter into a patient's artery. David Schlyer, the project's principal researcher at Brookhaven Lab, said, "The noninvasive method would be medically safer than using a catheter, since it eliminates the risk of infection and the potential loss of blood flow to the hand. Also, it would be more comfortable for the patient."
Ronald Nutt, senior vice president of CTI, Inc., commented, "PET is already a powerful imaging tool for diagnosing cancer and other significant diseases. Medicare reimbursement has been established for certain types of cancer, which has caused PET to expand rapidly in the U.S. This blood-monitoring system will allow PET to accurately quantify metabolic activity, which can take PET to the next level."
Since the new method requires extensive data manipulation and computer operation, Schlyer said the mathematics involved will have to be streamlined for greater efficiency. Brookhaven, which has expertise in PET scanning and modeling will work on the mathematical calculations required to adapt the detector developed by CTI, Inc., for use in PET. The Brookhaven-CTI team hope to have a working prototype of the blood monitor in the fall.
Since PET is becoming a widely used tool for clinical evaluation of a wide variety of diseases, the monitoring device could have significant commercial applications. Currently, there are more than 250 PET machines at major hospital and research centers around the world.
Brookhaven Lab and CTI, Inc., are each contributing $70,000 to fund the CRADA for one year. Funding to support Brookhaven's costs came from the Lab's patent-licensing royalty income, which amounted to over $2.7 million last year.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory
creates and operates major facilities available to university,
industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research
in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences, and in
selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven
Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company,
under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.