Weaving single photon imaging into new drug development.
The specific aim of this review is to assess the potential contribution of single photon emitting radiopharmaceutical technologies to new drug development. For each phase of therapeutic drug development, published literature was sought that shows single photon emitters can add value by quantifying pharmacokinetics, visualizing mechanisms of drug action, estimating therapeutic safety indices, or measuring dose-dependent pharmacodynamic effects. Not any published reports were found that describe using nuclear medicine techniques to help manage the progress of a new drug development program. As a consequence, most of the case in favor of weaving single photon imaging into the process had to be built on extrapolations from studies that showed feasibility post hoc. The strongest evidence of potential value was found for drug candidates that hope to influence diseases characterized by cell proliferation or cell death, particularly in the fields of oncology, cardiology, nephrology, and inflammation. Receptor occupancy studies were observed to occasionally offer unique advantages over analogous studies with positron emission tomography (PET). Enough hard data sets were found to justify the costs of using single photon imaging in a variety of new drug development paradigms.