Positron emission tomography (PET) combined with sorbitol, an ingredient commonly used in sugar-free foods, can be used to detect and monitor gram-negative bacterial infections in real time, report researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Weinstein EA et al. Sci Transl Med. 2014;6:259ra146).
The team converted a commercially available PET imaging tracer into radiolabeled sorbitol to selectively tag and illuminate clusters of Enterobacteriaceae within the body. This bacterial family, which includes Escherichia coli, metabolizes sorbitol and is the most common cause of gram-negative bacterial infections in humans.
Hampton T. System Tracks Drug-Resistant Bacteria in the Body. JAMA. 2014;312(21):2202. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15684