Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Tumor Apoptosis with a Caspase-Sensitive Nano-Aggregation Tracer [18F]C-SNAT

  • Zixin Chen
  • Jianghong RaoEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1790)


Cellular apoptosis is an important criterion for evaluating the efficacy of cancer therapies. We have developed a new small molecule probe ([18F]C-SNAT) for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of apoptosis. [18F]C-SNAT, when activated by caspase-3 and glutathione reduction, undergoes intramolecular cyclization followed by self-assembly to form nano-aggregates in apoptotic cells. This unique mechanism creates preferential retention of gamma radiation signals in targeted cells and thus enables the detection of apoptosis using PET, a sensitive and clinically practical technique. This protocol describes the chemical synthesis, radiolabeling and PET imaging of apoptosis using this probe.

Key words

Positron emission tomography (PET) Imaging Apoptosis Caspase-3 Nano-aggregation Radiolabeling “Click” reaction 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford, Departments of Radiology and ChemistryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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