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Research Corner

Clinical Research on 64 Slice CT to be Presented to AHA

Clinical research findings on the use of 64 slice CT coronary angiography will be presented by Westside Medical Imaging medical staff at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2006, held November 12-15 in Chicago. Under the direction of Cedars-Sinai attending physicians Norman E. Lepor, M.D., and Hooman Madyoon, M.D., Westside Medical Imaging has performed more than 3,000 studies using this technology, representing one of the largest experiences with 64 slice CT cardiac imaging in the world.

"The 64 slice CT produces exquisite imaging of both soft (non-calcified) and calcified plaque in the coronary arteries, which cannot be seen with conventional coronary angiography," said Dr. Lepor. "This allows for early intervention with prevention therapies such as statins in patients who otherwise would not know they suffer from this disease and prevent complications such as sudden cardiac death and myocardial infarction."

The research effort was conducted by Westside Medical Imaging physicians in conjunction with Prediman K. Shah, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiology, and Cedars-Sinai cardiology fellows. Westside Medical Imaging is located in Beverly Hills. For more information, contact Dr. Lepor at (310) 289-9955.

Scorpion Venom Targets Deadly Brain Tumors

Researchers use synthetic version to deliver radioactive iodine to gliomas

Using a man-made version of scorpion venom as a carrier, researchers led by Cedars-Sinai neurosurgeon Adam Mamelak have developed a new method of delivering a dose of radioactive iodine that targets deadly brain tumors (gliomas) without affecting neighboring tissue or body organs.

After a Phase I clinical trial conducted in 18 patients showed the approach to be safe, a larger Phase II trial is underway to assess the effectiveness of multiple doses.

Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, led the Phase I trial and is first author of an article in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The key ingredient is TM-601, a synthetic version of a peptide, or protein particle, that naturally occurs in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli scorpion. TM-601 binds to glioma cells and has an unusual ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier that blocks most substances from reaching brain tissue from the bloodstream.

"We're using the TM-601 primarily as a carrier to transport radioactive iodine to glioma cells, although there is data to suggest that it may also slow down the growth of tumor cells. If studies continue to confirm this, we may be able to use it in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, because there may be a synergistic effect. In other words, TM-601's ability to impede cancer growth could allow us to reduce the dose of chemotherapy to achieve a therapeutic effect," said Mamelak, who serves as co-director of the Pituitary Center.

Mamelak said TM-601 binds to tumors other than gliomas, and this therapy will be studied in a variety of tumor types. He conducted this study with colleagues from City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, St. Louis University in Missouri, and TransMolecular, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. TransMolecular also provided funding for the study.