Researchers from the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a technique which could detect blood clots anywhere in the body in one go. The method if approved for routine clinical setting will save precious time and money.
In order to treat a blood clot, doctors first need to find its exact location in the body. Current techniques allow doctors to scan only one part of the body at a time. It means a patient will have to undergo multiple scans in case the first scan is unable to detect a blood clot. Moreover, in order to locate blood clots doctors use three techniques; ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography. The new method will bring down the test to a single scan.
Peter Caravan, researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital said that if a person suffers from a stroke because of a blood clot then the risk of a second stroke increases. In order to develop the new technique scientists developed a blood clot probe by attaching a radionuclide to the peptide. Radionuclides are detectable anywhere in the body through a method called positron imaging tomography (PET). Scientists also used different radionuclides and peptides so as to determine which combination provides the brightest signal.
Researchers first analysed how well each probe bound to fibrin in a test tube and then studied how well the probe detected blood clot in rats. It was revealed that the probes had a similar affinity to fibrin in test tube but in case of rats their performance was different. The reason cited for the difference is metabolism. The team will now be testing the probe in human patients, however it is understood that the technique will be approved for clinical setting only after five years if everything goes good.