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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Feb 7;57(3):771-83. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/3/771. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

The potential for Cerenkov luminescence imaging of alpha-emitting radionuclides.

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Department of Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4060, USA.


Targeted α-emitting drugs are promising for cancer therapy, but cannot be effectively imaged by conventional techniques. Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) has previously been shown capable of imaging β(+)- and β(-)-emitting radionuclides in vivo and could have the potential to image α-emitters. Cerenkov light production from α-emitters is through Compton scattering and from farther down the decay chain. This causes the Cerenkov production to vary in time and depend on sample geometry, complicating the interpretation of CLI images. We used the simulation toolkit Geant4 to predict the Cerenkov light output from five α-emitting radionuclides that have therapeutic potential: (225)Ac, (230)U, (213)Bi, (212)Bi and (212)At. We found that (225)Ac, (213)Bi and (212)Bi produced an order of magnitude more Cerenkov light than (18)F. However, the light from (225)Ac is delayed from the initial decay, possibly decreasing the correlation of the drug and light source. This indicates that CLI will not be helpful in the development of some α-emitting drugs.

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