Justin Hicks Profile picture
Radiochemist👨‍🔬☢️🇨🇦, Assist Prof@UWO, father. Science+DIY projects+fun w/ my kids=living my best life. He/Him
8 Jun
An oldie but a goodie: Oxygen-15 water! One of the first isotopes to be used in human imaging, O-15 has a 2 min half-life. That puts a lot of pressure on the #LawsonCyclotron staff to work efficiently 1/
We make it using high energy deuterons. Those are hydrogen atoms with an extra neutrons and a positive charge. These particles hit a N-14 atom, kick out neutron to make O-15. This comes out of the cyclotron as O2 gas 2/
The gas gets mixed with H2 over hot Pt wires where it is reduced to H2O. That bubbles into sterile saline for injection and filtered. We then run it (literally) up 6 floors to the @lawsonresearch hybrid PET/MR @stjosephslondon 3/
Read 6 tweets
5 Jun
Inflammation may be at the root of many chronic diseases. The #LawsonCyclotron has a tracer that can help visualize inflammation at various states of health and disease. 1/
FEPPA is labeled with F-18 like the previous examples this month. It targets the translocation protein, TSPO for short. During inflammation, immune cells like macrophages and microglia become activated and express more TSPO. This generates brighter images 2/
This is not perfect because it cannot differentiate whether it's pro or anti inflammatory. But some great studies out of @CAMHResearch where the probe was developed have provided insight into dementia, psychosis, and mood disorders. 3/
Read 4 tweets
4 Jun
What makes a nice companion to flortaucipir? Why, florbetapir! As the name suggests, it's job's to target and illuminate beta amyloid. #LawsonCyclotron 1/
Also labeled with F-18, this tracer bind to amyloid plaques in #Alzheimers disease and can assist with diagnosis. It is also approved by the FDA for this purpose. Like it's companion tau tracer, we make it under license and are the sole #Canadian🇨🇦 suppliers 2/
This includes multiple clinical trials for anti-amyloid drugs where the PET scan was used to determine efficacy of the drug. By observing a decrease in PET signal between baseline and post-therapy, the drug could be considered a success 3/
Read 7 tweets
1 Jun
Start off with a simpler tracer from #LawsonCyclotron: [18F]sodium fluoride or NaF. By smacking heavy oxygen atoms (18O) with high energy protons, a little alchemy changes the O atom to fluorine. 1/
This gets quickly processed to make it safe for human injection and after a quality check getsshipped to imaging sites. The sodium comes from the saline solution the 18F is dissolved into.2/
Mostly commonly used for bone scans to look for cancer metastases. Think toothpaste - the fluoride binds to teeth (bone) where the top layer is weakened or growing. 3/
Read 5 tweets
29 May
Do you know all the cool PET tracers the @lawsonresearch cyclotron can make for diverse molecular imaging here in #ldont? @SchulichMedDent, @BMI_WesternU, @westernuBIRC, @westernuScience: a thread 1/4
The most common probe is FDG, used daily for cancer imaging. But there is SO MUCH more we can do. 2/4 #notyourgrammasPET
Each day in June, I'm going to highlight some of the projects we've completed and some upcoming exciting work. If there's time left, I'll do some pontificating on cool new PET applications that could be done here in London. 3/4
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