Using ‘imaging technology’ for the diagnosis of lung infections is being studied by a researcher of Indian descent.
In New York. In order to expedite treatment for critically ill patients, a project led by a University of Cincinnati researcher of Indian descent seeks to create a new imaging tool that can recognise certain types of lung infections.
The UC James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy’s associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Nalinikanth Kotagiri, claims that imaging has the potential to quickly diagnose specific lung infections rather than taking two to three days.
Kotagiri and his associates would create various injectable probes (metallic contrast agents) and investigate their efficacy. These metallic contrast agents will congregate at the site of the infection and instantly glow under a nuclear imaging technology known as a PET scan.
In order to diagnose pneumonia, the doctors currently rely on chest x-rays. These chest x-rays may not help identify the kind of infection, whether it is bacterial, viral, or fungal.
Only a pathologist who takes the time—usually two to three days—to culture a sample of lung tissue taken through an invasive technique known as a bronchoscopy can provide a definite diagnosis.
However, Kotagiri warns that critically ill patients might not have the luxury of time, such as those with infectious pneumonia and underlying diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Within hours, “our solution is to use imaging to identify what is causing the pneumatic episode,” he explains, in order to expedite a treatment strategy.
The fact that the production of contrast agents “doesn’t require elaborate processing or preparation time” is an extra bonus, according to Kotagiri.
This is crucial since the creation of contrast agents can be labour-intensive and challenging. A quick and easy procedure is anticipated to shorten setup time in a clinical laboratory and perhaps even make it possible to use the technology in a clinical setting.
Kotagiri and colleagues will only be examining bacterial and viral pneumonias in association with COPD in this investigation in animal models, but the imaging strategy may be applicable to other illnesses, such as fungal infections, or disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.
Imaging the patient following therapy could, in Kotagiri’s opinion, also show if the patient is responding to antibiotics or not.
He added that imaging may help in selecting the best antibiotics to employ in treating the newly discovered diseases.
Kotagiri has received $3 million in five-year R01 funding for the project from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). According to the goals of the National Institutes of Health, support is given for health-related research and advancement through the R01, or Research Project Grant. (IANS)