A new tool to image lung ventilation

Jordi Llop


    Jordi Llop


    Asociación Centro de Investigación Cooperativa en Biomateriales (CIC biomaGUNE), Spain


    Many illnesses with high prevalence and socio-economic impact, such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and, more recently, COVID-19, which has already affected more than 500 million people worldwide, lead to lung ventilation problems.

    A diagnostic tool to image lung ventilation accurately would be useful for the early diagnosis of these diseases and to evaluate their severity and progression, as well as the patient's response to treatment. Current methods, based on the use of radioactively labelled aerosols imaged by single photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT), are not sufficiently precise, involve a significant radiation dose to the patient, and present operational drawbacks for healthcare facilities.

    The researchers have developed a radiopharmaceutical that, when used in conjunction with the positron emission tomography (PET) imaging technique, which is much more precise than SPECT, enables accurate and efficient evaluation of lung ventilation. The method has been successfully tested in animal models and in this project the researchers will work on technological solutions and safety assessment with the aim of bringing this tool to the clinic and positioning it as the new gold standard, thereby delivering an effective solution for the many patients who suffer from respiratory illnesses around the world.