Clinical and pre-clinical imaging techniques, such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), have the ability to visualize and monitor molecular events in vivo providing a functional ''picture" of fundamental biochemical and physiological processes.
SBIC’s Laboratory of Molecular Chemistry (LMC) comprises of two laboratories, a synthetic chemistry laboratory for organic and organometallic medicinal chemistry and a dedicated radiochemistry laboratory for the preparation and handling of cyclotron-produced, short-lived positron-emitting (β+ decay) radionuclides for the production of PET radiopharmaceuticals/tracers.
The preparation of PET radiopharmaceuticals/ tracers relies on the ability of chemists/ radiochemists to rapidly and specifically incorporate positron-emitting radionuclides, such as 18F (t1/2 = 109.7 min) and 11C (t1/2 = 20.4 min), into drug-like molecules. PET radiochemistry is a challenging, multi-disciplinary field that frequently requires innovative synthetic solutions to prepare evermore structurally complex radiopharmaceuticals.
Similarly, synthetic chemistry is a critical part of enriching the toolbox of contrast agents available for molecular Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging (MRS, MRI) and requires the synthesis of labelled bioactive molecules labelled at specific positions with either MR-active nuclei, such as 13C and 15N, or the incorporation of chelated gadolinium complexes as contrast enhancers for in vivo imaging applications.
SBIC’s Laboratory of Molecular Chemistry, together with the extensive preclinical imaging capabilities available within the consortium (including pre-clinical Mediso 7T and 3T PET/MR and Siemens Inveon PET/CT scanners) provides the infrastructure required for comprehensive nuclear and multi-modal imaging research projects from small molecules to biologics. Additionally, our close relationship with CIRC cyclotron-radiochemistry facility provides the opportunity for synergistic research programs with the ultimate aim of translation of basic research to early-phase human studies.
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The main objectives of our research are to
- Develop new labelling strategies for a variety of PET radioisotopes and apply organometallic chemistry and catalysis for the production of PET imaging agents
- Provide access to a wide variety of established PET radiopharmaceuticals for preclinical, multi-modal imaging research
- Discover and develop new imaging biomarkers designed to target specific biological targets/pathways in diseases of particular priority to public health in oncology, neurology and metabolic diseases.