Radiotracers

GIGA researchers have developed the 18F-FB-mini-PEG-E[c(RGDyK)](2), 18F-FPRGD2, a radiopharmaceutical targeting the integrin αvβ3, a transmembrane heterodimeric receptor regulating cell interaction with the extracellular matrix (ECM). The interaction site of integrin αvβ3 with ECM is a tripeptide sequence arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) present in a wide range of ECM molecules including fibronectin, fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, thrombospondin, vitronectin, tenascin, osteopontin and bone sialoprotein.

They have recently reported the osteoarticular uptake of 18F-FPRGD2 in a large cohort of 61 patients primarily studied for oncologic purposes. The results were the first showing the systematic analysis 18F-FPRGD2 uptake in the musculoskeletal system. Their data clearly identified a homogeneous binding of the 18F-FPRGD2 within structures that anatomically correspond to the cartilage surrounding the femoral head of an osteoarthritic hip. They have observed similar global fixation of the tracer on the entire degenerated disc.

Highlighting the role of integrins in osteoarthritis development opens the door to osteoarthritis diagnosis using in vivo non-invasive and quantitative imaging technology.

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Biomarkers – Diagnostic

Researchers at GIGA have identified biomarkers involved in cartilage destruction that were correlated to other commonly used serum OA biomarkers such as aggrecan, keratan sulfate, YKL-40, CTX-II, pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline, TNF-α and matrix metalloproteinase involved in cartilage loss, bone remodeling and local inflammation.

These new biomarkers can be used for the diagnosis and monitoring of arthrosis and cartilage metabolism in human clinical trials. These are particularly useful for the follow-up of drug efficacy during the different phases of development.

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Clinical imaging capabilities

Together, the CHU and the GIGA have a vast expertise in clinical imaging techniques, individually or combined in a multimodal functional imaging approach.

This medical imaging technique consists of X-ray computed tomography where the X-rays are divergent, forming a cone. It helps to refine the diagnosis in many clinical situations while reducing radiation doses. The horizontally configured system allows to scan patients in a more stable lying position.

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After injection of a contrast medium, the arthrogram examines the inside of a joint through a series of X-ray images. It allows to visualize tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage and the joint capsule and to refine the diagnosis.

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gemini tf16Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has the sensitivity at picomolar level to visualize molecular process in 3D and in a volume and target-depth independent manner. As a stand-alone device or combined with a CT scanner (PET-CT), it allows a wide range of clinical and experimental applications:

  • Dynamic brain imaging (arterial blood sampling):
    • Concentration analysis of targeted analytes
    • Dynamic PET with tracer kinetic modeling techniques
  • Static brain imaging with 18F radiopharmaceuticals
  • Whole-body imaging for dosimetry:
    • Collection of quantitative and dynamic biodistribution data
    • Detailed drug occupancy studies
  • Whole-body imaging for metabolic evaluation, receptor or gene expression, with or without full diagnostic contrast-enhanced CT imaging

Equipment: PET scanner Siemens HR+, PET/CT Philips Gemini TF16 & Philips Gemini TF Big Bore (fully fitted for RT Planning)

In addition, we have:

  • Expertise in the development of new radioligands (for more info, click here)
  • Marketing Authorization Application to produce 18F-FDG (#BE241132)
  • Marketing Authorization Application to produce 68GA labelled compound
  • Certification to synthesize radiolabeled registered and experimental drugs
  • Authorization to conduct research programs with clinically validated 18F-FDG or original radiotracers
  • Expertise in experimental design, data collection, correction and modeling for kinetic analysis

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SPECT is a nuclear medicine tomographic imaging technique, which uses radiopharmaceutical emitting gamma rays. Similar to PET, it can be combined with a computed tomography (CT), a cross-sectional technique that yields structural and anatomical high-resolution 3D images.

Equipment: 2 SPECT-CT Siemens Symbia T6, 1 SPECT Siemens E-Cam.

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This X-ray technology allows to estimate bone loss by measuring the quantity of calcium and other bone minerals in a selected bone segment. It is a non-invasive test for diagnosis and follow-up treatment of medical conditions such as osteoporosis.

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This is a successful imaging modality to diagnose and to allow dynamic examination of the patient in multiple scanning planes and in specific arm positions. It also allows the examiner to focus on the region of maximum discomfort. It plays a major role in diagnosing calcific deposits, impingement, acromioclavicular joint pathologies and guided therapy. It can be used as a complementary examination technique to MRI.

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The study of body composition changes in health and disease have led to a greater understanding of growth, ageing, malnutrition and obesity as well as the impact of medical interventions. Among several methods for studying in vivo human body composition, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has emerged as one of the most commonly used clinical standards.

This method uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss. DXA is simple, quick and non-invasive.

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio-waves to visualize detailed-internal structures. Images are obtained in vivo with very high spatial and temporal resolution and good contrast for brain and soft tissues. MRI can be used in a wide variety of applications including anatomical, functional (fMRI) and molecular imaging for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and follow-up without exposure to ionizing radiation.

Equipment: two 3T Siemens Allegra with parallel imaging capabilities (8-channel receive coil), one 1.5T Siemens Symphony and two 1.5 Siemens Aera Scanners.

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BrightSpeedElite-281x300A computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images, or slices of bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside the body.

Equipment: 2 GE Brightspeed Elite scanners, 2 Siemens Somaton Emotion scanners, 1 Siemens Somaton Definition scanner.

Motion Analysis

We can offer you a fully integrated analysis of the subject including spatio-temporal parameters (step frequency, step length, velocity, single and double support time …) and kinematics parameters (angular range of motion, velocity, ground reaction forces, muscles activity). Tests are performed in a 27 meters-long room (ensuring that subjects reach stabilized gait) in which the equipment can be used simultaneously and synchronized on demand.

 

Picture15The Locometrix® accelerometer device provides a quick and informative walking test in the context of defining a diagnosis. The software automatically calculates 6 common dynamic characteristics of walking: symmetry, regularity, force, frequency, pathogenic shock waves and frontal instability. The system provides reference databases, allowing the user to interpret the test results in a matter of minutes. In practice, an accelerometer, fixed by a belt on the lumbar region, registers all movements of the center of gravity during walking, running or other athletic movements.

Its applications include:

  • Functional rehabilitation
  • Rheumatology
  • Musculoskeletal modeling of the human body

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Picture16Codamotion® is a 3D motion capture system, which tracks and analyzes 3D movement. This system is very versatile and can provide a large variety of information including the common gait parameters (stride frequency, gait velocity…) as well as kinematic information (ankle, knee, hip angles).

A Codamotion® system is ideal for analyzing all scales of human body. Small scales details of hand, face, feet and spine can be captured together with large-scale whole-body movements. Critically, the active maker technology used in Codamotion® system produces real time data. Less than 1ms elapses between a measurement and its availability for processing and display.

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Picture14Force plates measure the ground reaction forces generated by a body standing on or moving across them, allowing investigators to quantify balance, gait and other biomechanical parameters.

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Picture17Electromyography (EMG) allows to evaluate the activity of the muscles and is composed of several sensors (one for each studied muscle) placed at the surface of the skin. EMG is mainly used as a diagnostic tool to identify neuromuscular diseases and can be applied to the study of the effect of a given treatment (drug, rehabilitation program), ergonomics…

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With a set of range laser scanners, engineers at ULg have developed a new non-intrusive feet tracker system called GAIMS (for “Gait Analysis Imaging System”, “Gait Measuring System”). The observed person does not need to carry any sensor or marker, has not to wear special clothes and is not restricted to walk on a small area such as a treadmill.

This system can detect the real time position of each foot during different types of simple walking tasks. It enables the calculation of different gait parameters (global or single foot walking speed, single and double limb support times, base of support width, number of missteps…).

These characteristics can be used for the diagnostic of various diseases and for the longitudinal follow-up of patients with walking impairments.

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