A recently published study by BRF’s Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy (CMIT) Executive Director Dr. Pradeep K. Garg and his research team focuses on developing a novel radiopharmaceutical that shows promise in helping the medical community more effectively diagnose melanoma.

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“Recently, we designed and developed a novel melanoma targeting compound called C-11 Methoxybenzamide that has shown promising results,” said Garg. “While better detection of this disease has been a goal of many investigators, we have made significant progress and attained success in developing an effective Positron Emission Tomography (PET) radiopharmaceutical to image and detect melanoma. In preclinical evaluations, this radiotracer is quite effective and accurate in pinpointing the presence of melanoma on PET scans. It has a high affinity towards melanoma cancer cells and once further developed, could be useful in early detection of this disease where current technology fails.”

Melanoma accounts for a small percentage of all skin cancer cases, but 75 percent of deaths from skin cancers are associated with melanoma. A 10-year survival for clinical stage I melanoma patients is 95 percent but it drops to just 10-15 percent for stage IV patients.

The current option to diagnose a wide range of cancers is to use the compound F-18 FDG (Fluoro-deoxyglucose) in PET imaging, a technique that uses tracer agents to detect and treat certain diseases in the body, but this F-18 FDG tracer is not effective at detecting melanoma at its early stages.

“Therefore, developing new tools for early diagnoses and accurate localization of melanoma in a patient are crucial for their survival,” said Garg. There are significant pitfalls in the current technology and F-18 FDG fails in early detection and localization of melanoma.”

To overcome this obstacle, Garg’s team sought to develop the novel PET imaging agent that would specifically target melanoma cancer cells.

Garg said this C-11 compound is a second-generation radiopharmaceutical that was designed and developed based on preclinical research results from the team’s first generation radiotracer developed earlier. One of many benefits of this C-11 compound is its short half-life.

Garg said this means the compound delivers a lower radiation dose to patients, and it also allows for same-day follow-up doctor’s office visits for the patients, who could have other procedures performed, if needed.

CMIT is a research organization headquartered in Shreveport which develops and manufactures radiopharmaceuticals for PET imaging.  PET imaging is a technique that uses radiotracers to detect and localize disease to help physicians to prescribe more personalized treatment regimen to effectively treat the diseases. The CMIT team specializes in preclinical and translational PET Imaging research and conducts imaging related clinical trials.

CMIT manufactures multiple radiotracers in Shreveport and Baton Rouge under FDA oversight, and ships its products to various imaging centers within Louisiana and to the centers in neighboring states.

4-[11C]Methoxy N-(2-diethylaminoethyl) benzamide: A Novel Probe to Selectively Target Melanoma was published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (2017) by Drs. Pradeep K. Garg, Rachid Nazih, Yanjun Wu, Ravi A. Singh and Sudha Garg.

About CMIT

CMIT is a research organization devoted to developing novel radiopharmaceuticals which can lead to improved diagnosis and therapy for a wide range of diseases. CMIT actively performs radiopharmaceutical development, preclinical research, translational research, provides PET imaging services as well as participate in various clinical trials.
CMIT works with various collaborators including physicians, researchers, scientists, academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies to develop, test, validate and translate innovative new technologies and ideas.
CMIT is a division of BRF, formerly Biomedical Research Foundation.