© Rob Custodio
© Rob Custodio

New prospects in radiopharmaceutical chemistry

A new particle accelerator generating radioactive isotopes for use in nuclear chemistry is to be employed to create new medical radiopharmaceuticals.

The cyclotron was installed at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) Institute of Nuclear Chemistry in December 2015 and has now been officially put into operation.

The purpose of the cyclotron is to conduct research into potential applications of medical relevance.

It will be used to generate isotopes with a short half-life, which are important for fundamental research but are also required for the medical imaging technique known as positron emission tomography (PET).

The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Rhineland-Palatinate Research Initiative funded the research facility worth some €1m.

Professor Frank Rösch of the JGU Institute of Nuclear Chemistry, said: “The cyclotron supplements the research infrastructure already in place at Mainz University. Now that we can produce our own radioactive nuclides, we have additional opportunities for our research and development of alternative radiopharmaceuticals.

“It will significantly facilitate the generation of new radiopharmaceuticals and their preclinical evaluation as well as – working in collaboration with the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Mainz University Medical Center – potential applications in human medicine.”

Additional benefits are to be expected through interdisciplinary joint projects in which the disciplines of nuclear chemistry, pharmacy, organic chemistry, and nuclear medicine at JGU will collaborate.