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SNM 2011: Lantheus touts data on two PET heart agents

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 08, 2011
Lantheus Medical Systems touted the results of new research on two positron emission tomography agents for diagnosing heart disease at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week.

The N. Billerica, Mass.-based radiopharmaceutical company revealed more information from its research on flurpiridaz F-18, a PET radiotracer for myocardial perfusion studies, and two new animal studies on LMI 1195, an agent that could potentially measure the heart's nervous system to better understand arrhythmias.

[Read an exclusive report on the future of PET imaging agents]

With flurpiridaz, Lantheus presented new studies using a subset of data from its phase 2 trial, results of which were released last month. Although the data are preliminary, two of the new studies suggest it could possibly quantify blood flow to the heart and better gauge the severity of defects than SPECT imaging, the primary modality for this imaging.

"There is the potential with measuring absolute quantitative blood flow to get a more complete picture of the impact of coronary flow abnormalities than what is currently available with SPECT," Dr. Dana Washburn, vice president, clinical development and medical affairs with Lantheus, told DOTmed News.

The advantage of attaching an absolute number to blood flow could show up especially when "looking at patients with multiple blockages," Washburn said.

Although this is not the first PET agent to provide blood flow quantification, flurpiridaz could be more practical to implement, as it is an F-18-based tracer, so it has a longer half-life and is easier to distribute, Washburn said. "You don't have to have the mechanisms on site to essentially make the drug."

Lantheus has said that a multi-center phase 3 study on flurpiridaz is expected to launch later this year.

The company also shared new findings about LMI 1195, an F-18-based cardiac neuronal imaging agent that targets the sympathetic nervous system of the heart. With it, doctors might be able to take PET scans of patients to see the integrity of the heart's nervous system. There's evidence from previous research that the integrity of the system is linked to a risk for arrhythmias, although Lantheus was quick to stress their agent has only been studied in healthy human volunteers in a phase 1 trial, and not in those with underlying heart disease.

At SNM, Lantheus shared two animal studies -- one on rabbits, another on rabbits, rats and primates -- showing the agent's role in evaluating cardiac sympathetic denervation. The rabbit study also suggested regional cardiac sympathetic denervation in the animals was associated with drug-induced arrhythmia susceptibility.

The six flurpiridaz and two IMI 1195 studies were presented Monday and Tuesday at SNM 2011.

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