Combining a PET scanner with a new chemical tracer that selectively tags specific types of bacteria, researchers working with mice report they have devised a way to detect and monitor in real time infections with pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria.
The new model emerged from a combination of existing PET scan technology -- a sophisticated 3-D visualization system for tumor imaging -- with an ingredient commonly used in sugar-free foods known as sorbitol. The model capitalizes on Gram-negative bacteria's fondness for sorbitol, which they readily soak up. By contrast, other classes of bacteria and other microorganisms, cancer, and human cells do not absorb sorbitol. The researchers hypothesized that converting an already available PET imaging tracer into radio-labeled sorbitol would selectively tag and light up clusters of Gram-negative bacteria inside the body.
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Posted by Tim Sandle