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Scintigraphy (from Latin scintilla, “spark”), is a nuclear medicine technique wherein specifically designed which employs administration of radioisotopes attached to drugs / chemicals (termed radiopharmaceuticals) travel to a specific organ / tissue or bind to / target a specific receptor often mimicking a physiological or pathological process to emit gamma radiation which is captured by gamma / SPECT or PET cameras, which are external detectors that form 2D or 3D images, allowing detection.

For example, in this image1 of a 99mTc-DTPA renal scintigraphy done in a patient with renal transplantation, 99mTc-DTPA is administered intravenously to demonstrate blood flow, processing (Uptake from blood into nephrons via physiological glomerular filtration) and subsequent excretion into renal tubules and consequent transit into ureter and urinary bladder is demonstrating normally functioning transplanted kidney.

Gamma Scintigraphy or more appropriately Pharmacoscintigraphy is an adaptable, non-invasive, imaging technique and an incredibly effective powerful clinical tool allowing early-stage evaluation of drug delivery systems in vivo, in real time and can improve early drug development productivity by evaluating critical product performance parameters which in vitro methods may not be able to predict.

Hence it can be used in mapping the formulation as it traverses the human body in real time, combining this information with the pharmacokinetic data, explore targeted drug delivery using novel drug carrier systems, accelerate product development, leading to evidence based medicines in addition to support marketing and licensing requirements.

  1. Francisco, Valdair & Teixeira, Sara & Romao, Elen & Cassini, Marcelo & Andrade, Murilo & Kato, Mery & Nardin, Maria & Tucci, Silvio. (2013). Imaging in Kidney Transplantation. Current Issues and Future Direction in Kidney Transplantation..

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