Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
PET is a way to obtain quantitative neurochemical data from a living being. It involves the injection of a small amount of a radioactive compound into the body and then recording of radioactive decay events with a special camera. The location of the decay event is then mapped onto the tissue location.
PET uses radioactive molecules with a high affinity for a specific protein in the body. In this way, the density of the target protein at a given anatomical location can be inferred by the events recorded by the camera.
Rio small molecule ligands bind tightly and selectively to their target proteins. These ligands are so designed to visualize specific kinds of nerve endings responsible for releasing specific neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters released from a nerve ending are often recycled by a specific transporter protein. Such proteins typically pump the released transmitter molecule back into the nerve cell that released it. Rio ligands are directed at this class of proteins.
Loss of types of neurons producing specific neurotransmitters may be detected with PET using Rio radioligands. Such loss may be associated with, or even cause, serious diseases.
Documenting loss of these kinds of neurons is likely to help understand, diagnose, and develop treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, depression and many other diseases for which there is currently no cure, and sometimes not even an effective therapy.
Copyright 2012 Rio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.