Radiopharmaceuticals are drugs that are labeled with a radioisotope and used in the field of nuclear medicine as tracers in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. Over the past decades, cutting-edge nuclear imaging techniques such as position emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission tomography (SPECT) have been developed and integrated into routine clinical practice. These advanced techniques are used in combination of trace amount of radiopharmaceuticals to image or visualize the body functions and physiologic processes at the molecular level.
Unlike conventional studies in the field of radiology, nuclear imaging studies such as PET and SPECT generally depend on administration of a radiotracer or radiopharmaceutical that is specific for the targets to be imaged. As a result, a variety of radiopharmaceuticals have been developed. Among them, only FDG is commercially available for PET studies of glucose metabolism. Most of the radiopharmaceuticals as exemplified above, however, need to be synthesized on site. In fact, due to the short half-life of some radionuclides such as C-11 (t1/2 20 min) and F-18 (t1/2 110 min), many radiolabelled radiopharmaceuticals are not remotely accessible. They must be synthesized immediately before imaging studies. For this reason, the radiopharmaceutical core facility is equipped with the state-of-the-art radiosynthetic modules for customized radiolabeling and to provide investigators with easy access to a variety of radiolabeled agents for imaging studies in neurology, oncology, and cardiology.
For more information, click here.