Nuclear radiology fellow develops PET probes to detect bacterial infection

A nuclear radiology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has developed new PET probes to detect bacterial infections in patients, the Radiological Society of North America announced this week.

Mark A. Sellmyer, MD, PhD, and colleagues created the probes based on antibiotic trimethoprim, a small molecule that has the ability to detect bacterial infection without a tracer accumulating in inflammation or cancer. Sellmyer’s research was supported by the 2016 Philips Healthcare and RSNA Research Resident Grant.

Sellmyer said the PET probes are also able to track genetically engineered cells for cancer therapies, making them multipurpose tools.

“The RSNA Research Grant was incredibly important to get these projects off the ground, and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time with the arrival of my faculty mentors, Robert H. Mach, PhD, and David A. Mankhoff, PhD,” Sellmyer said in a statement.

The fellow’s work was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences and Molecular Therapy last year.