Radiotracer effective for detection and assessment of lung fibrosis

IMAGE: A) Axial CT images through the mouse lungs at 7 and 14 days after intratracheal administration of bleomycin or saline (as a control), showing increased lung fibrosis in the bleomycin…
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Credit: Image developed by CA Ferreira et al., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.

Reston, VA (Embargoed till 4:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, June 12, 2021)–Positron emission tomography (PET) utilizing a 68Ga-labeled fibroblast activation protein inhibitor (FAPI) can noninvasively recognize and screen lung fibrosis, according to research study provided at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2021 Annual Meeting. By binding to triggered fibroblasts present in afflicted lungs, FAPI-PET permits for direct imaging of the illness procedure.

Idiopathic lung fibrosis (IPF) triggers significant scarring to the lungs, making it hard for those affected to breathe. It is a considerable cause of morbidity and death in the United States, with more than 40,000 deaths yearly. A significant obstacle in medical diagnosis and treatment of IPF is the absence of a particular diagnostic tool that can noninvasively detect and examine illness activity, which is essential for the management of lung fibrosis clients.

“CT scans can provide physicians with information on anatomic features and other effects of IPF but not its current state of activity. We sought to identify and image a direct noninvasive biomarker for early detection, disease monitoring and accurate assessment of treatment response,” stated Carolina de Aguiar Ferreira, PhD, a research study partner at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin.

In the research study, scientists targeted the fibroblast activation protein (FAP) that is overexpressed in IPF as a possible biomarker. Two groups of mice—one group with caused lung fibrosis and one control group—were scanned with the FAPI-based PET/CT radiotracer 68Ga-FAPI-46 at numerous time points. Compared to the control group, the mice with caused lung fibrosis had a much greater uptake of the radiotracer, enabling scientists to effectively recognize and examine locations of IPF.

“Further validation of 68Ga-FAPI-46 for the detection and monitoring of pulmonary fibrosis would make this molecular imaging tool the first technique for early, direct, and noninvasive detection of disease. It would also provide an opportunity for molecular imaging to reduce the frequency of lung biopsies, which carry their own inherent risks,” kept in mind Ferreira. “This development will demonstrate that functional imaging can play an invaluable role in evaluation of the disease process.”

Abstract 10. “Targeting Activated Fibroblasts for Non-invasive Detection of Lung Fibrosis,” Carolina Ferreira, Zachary Rosenkrans, Ksenija Bernau, Jeanine Batterton, Christopher Massey, Alan McMillan, Nathan Sandbo, Ali Pirasteh and Reinier Hernandez, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin; and Melissa Moore, Frank Valla and Christopher Drake, Sofie Biosciences, Dulles, Virginia.


All 2021 SNMMI Annual Meeting abstracts can be discovered online at

About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

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SNMMI’s members set the requirement for molecular imaging and nuclear medication practice by producing standards, sharing details through journals and conferences and leading advocacy on crucial problems that impact molecular imaging and treatment research study and practice. For more details, see

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