[Brainmap]: Alberto Signore MD PhD-Imaging of inflammation and infection: deeper and deeper, from in vivo organ scanning to understanding cell function

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 12:00 to 13:00
149 13th Street (Building 149), Room 2204


The possibility to detect in vivo, by non-invasive methods, the presence of an occult infection or of an inflammation, has always been an important clinical goal to achieve.

Since early 60s, imaging inflammation/infection has considerably evolved thanks to improvement of hardware but mostly due to improvement of radiopharmaceuticals and of the understanding of their mechanisms of accumulation in sites of infection and inflammation.

The first important achievement was the possibility to discriminate “sterile inflammation” from “septic inflammation” (infection), both characterized by the presence of oedema and white blood cell (WBC) infiltration. This was mainly achieved by using specific radiopharmaceuticals for imaging bacteria (like radiolabelled ciprofloxacin, UBI, biotin and many others), but also by applying imaging strategies to the use of radiopharmaceuticals that WBC (like anti-granulocyte antibodies, chemokines and radiolabelled-WBC them selves) or both bacteria and WBC (like 67/68Ga-citrate and [18F]FDG).

Another major improvement came recently by the global standardization of methods for producing these radiopharmaceuticals and their quality controls, the standardization of image acquisition and interpretation procedures, and, finally, in collaboration with several European medical societies, the standardization of diagnostic imaging protocols in several infections.

On the topic of “inflammation imaging”, several specific radiopharmaceuticals have been proposed, in addition to [18F]FDG, thus opening the possibility to molecular imaging of several different cells (T and B lymphocytes, NK cells, macrophages, etc.), cell products (TNF, cytokines, etc.) or cell antigens (PD-1, CD25, CTLA4, CXCR4, etc.). This abundance of radiopharmaceuticals, together with the availability of new isotopes (such as 68Ga, 64Cu and 89Zr) and new hardware (such as high resolution PET/CT or PET/MRI) has widen the filed of application of molecular nuclear medicine form autoimmune diseases to chronic inflammatory degenerative diseases and, recently, to the study of host immune response to cancer.

These applications will certainly have important impact for future drug discovery and for therapy decision making as well as for early follow-up of the efficacy of specific treatments, but also for prognostic and preventive purposes.


About the Speaker:

Prof. Alberto Signore, is presently working at Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and of Translational Medicine, Nuclear Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, University “Sapienza”, Rome, Italy, and at Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, University Medical Center, Groningen, The Netherlands. He graduated in Medicine in 1984, then specialist in Endocrinology (1987) and Nuclear Medicine (1991). He obtained a PhD in 2007 at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is now also Consultant in Nuclear Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA; Treasurer of the International Research Group in Immunoscintigraphy and Therapy (IRIST); Chair of the “Inflammation/Infection” Committee of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM); Member of the Editorial Board of the QJNM&MI, NucMedCommun, EJNM&MI, Nucl Med Rev, and other journals. He has been also Visiting Professor in Nuclear Medicine, University of Ghent, Belgium and Consultant of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of United Nation Organization (UNO).