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Cyclotron and Target Development Unit

Group Head: Viplav Gupta

Zyklotron DKFZ

Scanditronix MC32NI Cyclotron
© D. Burkert

Radioisotope production is an interdisciplinary field comprising the amalgam of science and engineering. The 'Cyclotron and Target Development' group at DKFZ utilizes this blend to focus on identification and production of such isotopes that are labelled with different biologically active molecules to produce either already established or novel radiopharmaceuticals for pre- clinical and clinical applications. The resulting radiopharmaceuticals are implemented both for diagnostic and/or internal radiotherapy as well as to establish novel treatment method for a more precise detection and therapy of cancer cells. For each of this application, suitable radioactive isotopes which are majorly particle emitters for e.g. positrons, alphas and betas, are needed. Depending on their decaying nature, these isotopes serves as thera(g)nostic agents both for the diagnosis of tumor cells via Positron Emission Tomography (PET) as well as for internal radiotherapy or radioligand therapy (RLT).

Cyclotron based radioactive isotopes majorly are produced via bombardment of highly energetic protons or deuterons on a targeted chemical material. This chemical material or targets can be in solid, liquid or in gaseous phase. The targets are confined and enclosed in a very especial assembly which are cooled from all the sides, thereby preventing them from melting against very high temperatures and pressures developed during bombardments. Designing and developing this whole concept in called 'target development' or 'targetry'.

Our group aims to develop such high current homogenous and sustainable cyclotron targets in our radiochemistry laboratories for radiometals that are not or rarely available in our close vicinity both for the thera(g)nostic approach, e.g 186Re for 99mTc/186Re, 103Pd for 90Y/103Pd, 86Y for 90Y/86Y, , 67Cu for 64Cu/67Cu, , 47Sc for 44gSc/47Sc and for promising diagnostic approaches, e.g. 61Cu, 55Co, 66Ga, 68Ga, 45Ti. The entire target assemblies will be produced with the help of simulation tools like SRIM, FLUKA™, COMSOL Multiphysics® and 3D-CAD design software. The target bodies should be investigated according to their chemical, physical and atomic properties which could withstand such high temperature and pressure without being deformed and can be reused as fresh again.

The pre- and post chemical process of the irradiated target solution will be carried out at DKFZ in a manipulator assisted hot cell from Von Gahlen® Netherland B.V. installed at DKFZ. After bombardment, the desired radioactive isotopes will be separated and labelled with their respective binding molecules which will later be passed on as the fully developed radiopharmaceutical for in-vivo and in-vitro studies, hence wrapping up the functionality of our unit 'Radiopharmaceuticals and Pre-clinical studies'.


Viplav Gupta

Service Unit Radiopharmaceuticals and Pre-Clinical Studies W630
Cyclotron and Targets development unit
Im Neuenheimer Feld 223
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Tel.: +49-6221-42-2695
E-Mail: v.gupta (at)

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