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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 20;106(42):17904-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906925106. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

High-throughput in vivo screening of targeted molecular imaging agents.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The rapid development and translation of targeted molecular imaging agents from bench to bedside is currently a slow process, with a clear bottleneck between the discovery of new compounds and the development of an appropriate molecular imaging agent. The ability to identify promising new molecular imaging agents, as well as failures, much earlier in the development process using high-throughput screening techniques could save significant time and money. This work combines the advantages of combinatorial chemistry, site-specific solid-phase radiolabeling, and in vivo imaging for the rapid screening of molecular imaging agents. A one-bead-one-compound library was prepared and evaluated in vitro, leading to the identification of 42 promising lead peptides. Over 11 consecutive days, these peptides, along with a control peptide, were successfully radiolabeled with 4-[(18)F]fluorobenzoic acid and evaluated in vivo using microPET. Four peptides were radiolabeled per day, followed by simultaneous injection of each individual peptide into 2 animals. As a result, 4 promising new molecular imaging agents were identified that otherwise would not have been selected based solely on in vitro data. This study is the first example of the practical application of a high-throughput screening approach using microPET imaging of [(18)F]-labeled peptides for the rapid in vivo identification of potential new molecular imaging agents.

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