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PEPT takes centre stage: First in vivo tracking of a single radiolabelled particle in a living subject

A ground-breaking study published in Nature Nanotechnology by MITHRAS team led by Dr T. M. Rosales (Juan Pellico, Laurence Vass, Amaia Carrascal-Miniño, Francis Man, Jana Kim, Kavitha Sunassee, David Parker, Philip J. Blower, Paul K. Marsden and Rafael T. M. de Rosales) marks the debut of Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) within a living organism (read more here).


This revolutionary technique opens new possibilities in biomedical imaging by enabling real-time, 3D visualisation of individual radioactive particles within the body. Unlike traditional positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, PEPT tracks single particles, not trillions of molecules, revealing their speed, location, and even interactions with tissues. This unlocks previously impossible applications, such as real-time analysis of blood flow dynamics in arteries or visualising blood flow within tumours.

The research team successfully synthesised, radiolabelled and injected a single radioactive sub-micron size silica particle with sufficient radioactivity to be detectable with PET. Particle position was then triangulated with high precision and in real-time. This landmark achievement holds remarkable potential for unravelling unknown aspects of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Imagine observing blood swirling around a tumour in real-time or pinpointing pressure drops in blocked arteries – PEPT paves the way for such insights.

Moreover, PEPT also has high potential for tracking individual cells and guiding with high-precision radiotherapy and surgery, one tiny tracer at a time.




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