PET imaging of fibrosis, fibrogenesis, and fibrolysis

In a recent review paper, Olof Eriksson (Associate Professor at Uppsala University, Senior PET Imaging Director at Antaros Medical, and CSO at Antaros Tracer) and Irina Velikyan (Associate Professor at Uppsala University) describe the current status and future directions of using radiotracers for imaging of fibrosis.

With fibrosis being the common end stage in many diseases and organs, and as effective treatment options for fibrotic disease are lacking, the research activity in this field is high. New, effective pharmacotherapies are needed to improve the outcome of patients affected by fibrotic disease. Moreover, current methods to assess fibrosis are either invasive or not sensitive enough to detect early fibrosis, fibrogenesis, and fibrolysis. There is a need to develop non-invasive methods to detect, stage, and study the molecular processes that drive the pathology of fibrosis and enable assessment of treatment effects in the search for novel antifibrotic drugs.

The review paper describes both the etiology of fibrosis and the recent progress in the development of radiopharmaceuticals, such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracers, for non-invasive detection of fibrotic processes. These include the fibrotic scar itself, the deposition of new fibrotic components (fibrogenesis), or the degradation of existing fibrosis (fibrolysis). PET tracers are emerging as important biomarkers supporting drug development, as they can further understanding of both the drug and its target, and provide important insights into human biology, quantitatively, and at a molecular level. The review paper discusses several targets that have been suggested as potential markers of fibrogenic or fibrolytic cells where radioligands are under active development.

PDGFRβ as radiopharmaceutical target for fibrogenesis
One of the PET tracers described in the paper is [18F]TZ-Z09591 (also called ATH001). The PET tracer ATH001 is being developed by Antaros Tracer to probe the presence of platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFRβ). PDGFRβ is a marker of ongoing fibrogenesis in tissue, ATH001 enables tissue specific quantification of active fibrotic disease and shows strong promise as a non-invasive tool for imaging fibrogenesis and could provide valuable insights in the search for new treatments for fibrotic diseases.

About Antaros Tracer
Antaros Tracer is a sister company to Antaros Medical, formed to ensure an expedited and focused development of new Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracers to be used as important biomarkers in drug development studies. Current disease area focus is fibrotic disease and immune-system activation in immune-oncology, inflammatory disease, and immunology.

Find the review paper here
Title: Radiotracers for Imaging of Fibrosis: Advances during the Last Two Decades and Future Directions
Authors: Olof Eriksson and Irina Velikyan
Link to publication

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