Bugs, drugs, and Star Trek!
Sanjay Jain, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and International Health
Johns Hopkins University
Current tools to diagnose and monitor infections are dependent upon sampling suspected sites and then performing culture or molecular techniques. This approach is invasive and is often dangerous, time consuming, and subject to incorrect sampling and contamination. Molecular imaging is a powerful, noninvasive tool that can rapidly provide three-dimensional views of disease processes deep within the body. Moreover, it has the fundamental advantage (with significant potential for clinical translation), to conduct noninvasive longitudinal assessments of the same patient. Our goals are to develop novel imaging tracers for rapid and noninvasive assessment of bacterial infections and to study antimicrobial pharmacokinetics. These technologies are an emerging field of research, overcome several fundamental limitations of current tools, and will have a broad impact on both basic research and patient care. Beyond diagnosis and monitoring disease, these technologies will also provide a uniform cross-species platform for animal studies; allow unique insights into understanding disease pathogenesis; and expedite bench-to-bedside translation of new therapeutics. Finally, since molecular imaging is readily available for humans, validated tracers will become valuable tools for clinical applications and for enabling personalized medicine for infectious diseases.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, August 11, 2021