Automation of Radiosyntheses


Syntheses of PET radiopharmaceuticals for preclinical and clinical applications require full automation due to radiation safety issues because larger amounts of radioactivity are needed. The transfer of a manually developed radiotracer synthesis (in short: radiosynthesis) to a fully automated procedure demands good knowledge in radiochemistry, engineering and software development.

Past and ongoing projects and significant accomplishments

New cassette-based and software-controlled radiosynthesis module.

The Division ofRadiopharmaceutical Chemistry has a strong history in the automation of PET radiopharmaceuticals on different types of synthesis modules. DKFZ will install a new cassette-based and software-controlled radiosynthesis module in 2014. Its versatility allows to longitudinally produce different F-18-labeled radiotracers, e.g. F-18-FET, F-18-FLT, F-18-FDOPA, F-18-FHBG, F-18-FMISO, and F-18-FECh, as well as Ga-68-labeled molecules, e.g. Ga-68-PSMA-HBED-CC and Ga-68-DOTATOC, on one and the same radiosynthesis unit within a short time frame and without cross contamination. These radiotracers and others are used for the (pre-)clinical imaging of prostate cancer, HSV1-tk gene expression, hypoxia, neuroendocrine tumors, and brain tumors and are provided to the related scientific units of the research program Imaging and Radiooncology. Furthermore, novel in-house developed radiotracers labeled with F-18 or PET-compatible radiometals can be automated and rapidly translated into preclinical research.

Future directions

The transfer of a clinically proven radiotracer into a GMP environment with manufacturing license is the next step that can be accomplished using the dedicated radiosynthesis module and its related GMP-compliant software within a corresponding clean room environment.

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