Viewing Blood Flow in the Brain

As a result of work conducted at the University of Missouri Columbia, physicians who treat patients with neurological disorders have a pharmaceutical that helps them look at blood flow abnormalities in the brain.

Ceretec®, the first drug of its kind, is able to cross a person’s blood-brain barrier and is an important diagnostic tool in brain research and medical treatment.

Subsequent research demonstrated the ability of this drug to label a patient’s white blood cells that are then used to image sites of infection or abscesses anywhere in the body. Ceretec® was invented in 1983 at the University of Missouri-Columbia and licensed in 1985.

The milestone discovery was invented by Wynn A. Volkert, Ph.D, a curator’s professor of radiology, biochemistry and chemistry and director of the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Institute; and the late David E. Troutner, PhD, professor of chemistry. The research leading to this discovery was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The innovative research by Volkert and Troutner in the area of radiopharmaceutical sciences has impacted thousands of patients’ lives. For example, Ceretec® has been used in patients with severe epilepsy, to effectively image the precise localization in the brain where the regional blood flow becomes excessively high or low and causes seizures. In addition, white blood cells labeled with Ceretec® are routinely used to image the sites of potentially life threatening abscesses in patients that cannot be detected by other diagnostic means.

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