Robust thrombus imaging is an unresolved clinical unmet need dating back to the mid 1970s. While early molecular imaging approaches began with nuclear SPECT imaging, contrast agents for virtually all biomedical imaging modalities have been demonstrated in vivo with unique strengths and common weaknesses. Two primary molecular imaging targets have been pursued for thrombus imaging: platelets and fibrin. Some common issues noted over 40 years ago persist today. Acute thrombus is readily imaged with all probes and modalities, but aged thrombus remains a challenge. Similarly, anti-coagulation continues to interfere with and often negate thrombus imaging efficacy, but heparin is clinically required in patients suspected of pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis or coronary ruptured plaque prior to confirmatory diagnostic studies have been executed and interpreted. These fundamental issues can be overcome, but an innovative departure from the prior approaches will be needed.
- biomedical imaging