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Radiotracers or Radiopharmaceuticals

SolutionsRadiotracers or Radiopharmaceuticals

Radioactive tracers are those substances composed of tightly bonded molecules with a radioactive atom. Such substances or tracers often use molecules that normally interact with a specific protein or sugar in the body so medical practitioners can easily determine the exact source of the disease. Others even employ the use of the patient’s own cells which can be seen in cases of a Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scan wherein healthcare workers radiolabel or add radioactive atoms to a sample of the patient’s red blood cells and then follow its path until they trace the place where it accumulates highly in the body; these areas are called ‘hot spots’.

Radiopharmaceuticals are the approved tracers meeting the standards set the by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nuclear medicine physicians are those who specialize the use of such substances to assess body functions, diagnose, and even treat specific diseases. Moreover, the radiopharmaceutical of choice is the thing that determines if the patient must undergo either a SPECT or Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.