Project title: An improved approach for detection and therapeutic monitoring of neuroendocrine tumors by PET

Babak Behnam Azad, PhD Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore

Babak Behnam Azad, PhD
  • Status: Completed
  • Year(s): 2017
  • Grant Type: Collaborative
  • Research Type: Clinical
  • Primary Tumor Site: Pancreas/small intestine
  • Area of Inquiry: Diagnostic

General Description

The study evaluates a novel strategy for the direct, non-invasive imaging of NETS by PET, which is currently the most sensitive clinical imaging technique. This approach will circumvent the limitations of [18F]Flouro-L-DOPA, a well-studied tracer for clinical applications, with the development of novel tracer element, (18F) FLuoro-D-DOPA .

The study assesses the enzymatically more stable FDOPA isomer, [18F]Fluoro-D-DOPA, for non-invasive in vivo detection of NETs by PET. This study will provide the first evaluation of this tracer for NET imaging and the first comprehensive side-by-side evaluation of [18F]Fluoro-L-DOPA and [18F]Fluoro-D-DOPA in any disease model.

Accumulating literature have suggested LAT1 as a viable diagnostic and prognostic marker,thereby prompting the development of LAT1-targeted imaging agents and therapeutics.The amino acid 3,4-L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is transported to the cytoplasm of neuroendocrine cells by LAT1, where it is metabolized to dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline.


Additional Details

  • State: Maryland
  • Grant Duration: 1 years
  • Grant Partner: Education and Research Foundation for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
  • Awards: NETRF/ERF Nuclear Medicine Pilot Research Grant


NETRF funds laboratory research to understand the development of neuroendocrine tumors and translational research to explore new concepts in treatment. Research grant descriptions and research updates from NETRF are not intended to serve as medical advice. It can take years for research discoveries to be fully validated and approved for patient care. Always consult your health care providers about your treatment options.

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