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AT-NCIGT - The National Center for Advanced Technologies for Image Guided Therapy

Sharmila Dorbala, MD, MPH: Molecular Imaging of Light Chain Cardiac Amyloidosis

Sharmila Dorbala

Sharmila Dorbala, MD, MPH
Director of Nuclear Cardiology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School


Systemic amyloidoses are heterogeneous group of protein misfolding disorders where misfiled proteins form amyloid fibrils which deposit in the various organs leading to organ dysfunction. The two most common forms of amyloidosis that affect the heart include immunoglobulin light chain or AL cardiac amyloidosis and transthyretin or ATTR cardiac amyloidosis. AL amyloidosis is rare and about 3500 new cases of AL amyloidosis are reported in the US each year. It results from a plasma cell dyscrasia and is treated using chemotherapy; untreated AL amyloidosis has a median survival of less than six months. Our research group has focused on molecular imaging of light chain cardiac amyloidosis with the goal of early disease detection, guiding therapy and improving clinical outcomes in these patients. Our group developed F-18 Florbetapir PET to accurately image cardiac amyloidosis, estimate whole-body amyloid load, detect visceral and pulmonary AL amyloid deposits, and identify preclinical light-chain CA, prior to overt phenotypic changes on MRI. Next, we are defining myocardial blood flow and energetics in light chain cardiac amyloidosis. Together these advances will pave the way for early and effective therapy. In this talk, I will discuss some of our work on molecular imaging of light chain cardiac amyloidosis.

Short Bio

Dr. Dorbala is the Director of Nuclear Cardiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School. She is a cardiovascular imaging specialist with clinical expertise in nuclear cardiology and echocardiography. Dr. Dorbala holds appointments as the Immediate Past President of ASNC, and Past President of the Cardiovascular Council of the SNMMI. She serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. She has served as an Associate Editor of Circulation Cardiovascular Imaging for 10 years.  Dr. Dorbala served as a key writing group member for several ASNC/SNMMI PET guideline documents including, PET Nuclear Cardiology Procedure Standard, Quantification of Myocardial Blood Flow Using PET, Appropriate use Criteria for PET Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, and Position Statements on Cardiac Sarcoidosis. Dr. Dorbala led multiple ASNC initiatives including the development of the ASNC Imaging Guideline: SPECT and the multi-society consensus statement on multimodality imaging in cardiac amyloidosis. Dr. Dorbala has authored or coauthored more than 250 articles, many focused on cardiac PET. She has served as a principal investigator for several clinical research studies focused on Cardiac PET, and molecular imaging cardiac amyloidosis using PET/CT, echocardiography and CMR.

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