Evaluation of 209At as a theranostic isotope for 209At-radiopharmaceutical development using high-energy SPECT

Phys Med Biol. 2018 Feb 21;63(4):045025. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aaaa95.


The development of alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals using 211At requires quantitative determination of the time-dependent nature of the 211At biodistribution. However, imaging-based methods for acquiring this information with 211At have not found wide-spread use because of its low abundance of decay emissions suitable for external detection. In this publication we demonstrate the theranostic abilities of the 211At/209At isotope pair and present the first-ever 209At SPECT images. The VECTor microSPECT/PET/CT scanner was used to image 209At with a collimator suitable for the 511 keV annihilation photons of PET isotopes. Data from distinct photopeaks of the 209At energy spectrum (195 keV (22.6%), 239 keV (12.4 %), 545 keV (91.0 %), a combined 782/790 keV peak (147 %), and 209Po x-rays (139.0 %)) were independently evaluated for use in image reconstructions using Monte Carlo (GATE) simulations and phantom studies. 209At-imaging in vivo was demonstrated in a healthy mouse injected with 10 MBq of free [209At]astatide. Image-based measurements of 209At uptake in organs of interest-acquired in 5 min intervals-were compared to ex vivo gamma counter measurements of the same organs. Simulated and measured data indicated that-due to the large amount of scatter from high energy (>750 keV) gammas-reconstructed images using the x-ray peak outperformed those obtained from other peaks in terms of image uniformity and spatial resolution, determined to be <0.85 mm. 209At imaging using the x-ray peak revealed a biodistribution that matched the known distribution of free astatide, and in vivo image-based measurements of 209At uptake in organs of interest matched ex vivo measurements within 10%. We have acquired the first 209At SPECT images and demonstrated the ability of quantitative SPECT imaging with 209At to accurately determine astatine biodistributions with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astatine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism*
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Astatine