Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London, United Kingdom
We have been pursuing research into the non-invasive measurement of pulmonary inflammation using Positron Emission Tomography. Using the facilities in the Cyclotron Unit on site, formerly MRC, now Hammersmith Imanet, we have carried out a number of studies on animal models of inflammation, using markers to monitor different components of the inflammatory process. We have validated these using ex vivo and in vitro techniques. The methodology has now been successfully transferred to humans and we have measured inflammation in patients with different lung diseases and compared the data with that from normal subjects. We have also carried out studies in additional groups of patients in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Clinical School using the facilities in the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre (WBIC). We are planning further clinical research studies at Hammersmith and Cambridge and animal studies using microPET in collaboration with WBIC at Cambridge. Our aim is to continue to apply the methodology we have already developed, to study progression and natural history of disease in humans while identifying, developing and validating new markers for monitoring specific cellular and biochemical components of lung disease. These studies will include protein profiling of tissues and biofluids to identify candidate targets for imaging.