Category Archives: The Tracer Principle

Applications in medicine

The registration of biochemical processes directly within the organism makes the PET method a versatile tool for studying metabolic functions in both research and diagnostic examinations. Control of therapy is realized by directly analyzing corresponding metabolic alterations and, thus, in case of lacking response the reporting strategy can be changed immediately. That holds for oncological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Moreover, the possibility of the direct transfer from the in-vitro to the in-vivo level allows the translation from the static to the dynamic biological system and exhibits a key feature in the PET method for drug development. Yet, the approach is rarely used during the past twenty years and the “tail” of extraordinarily high cost of a drug development keep to be spread around. With the PET method the promise of a new compound is seen in a study within a few mice modeling the particular disease. Even more, those data allow a direct translation to the clinical level with a few patients only.


The Tracer Principle

In general, radiopharmacy is the approach to prepare compounds for direct application of the Tracer Principle on the in-vivo level both in experimental research and clinical diagnostics.

Due to the short half-lives, compounds labeled with PET radionuclides (“tracers”) have very low mass such as 10-6 g or even less as it is administered in a whole body dose. Therefore, those tracers allow to “trace” the biochemical processes of interest directly with organism without any alteration.