Despite advances in the field of nuclear medicine, the imaging of bacterial infections has remained a challenge. The existing reagents suffer from poor sensitivity and specificity. In this study we investigate the potential of a novel PET (positron emission tomography) tracer that overcomes these limitations.
Methods: 6-[¹⁸F]-fluoromaltose was synthesized. Its behavior in vitro was evaluated in bacterial and mammalian cultures. Detailed pharmacokinetic and biodistribution profiles for the tracer were obtained from a murine model.
Results: 6-[¹⁸F]-fluoromaltose is taken up by multiple strains of pathogenic bacteria. It is not taken up by mammalian cancer cell lines. 6-[¹⁸F]-fluoromaltose is retained in infected muscles in a murine model of bacterial myositis. It does not accumulate in inflamed tissue.
Conclusion: We have shown that 6-[¹⁸F]-fluoromaltose can be used to image bacterial infection in vivo with high specificity. We believe that this class of agents will have a significant impact on the clinical management of patients.