New metal catalysed methods for the efficient, non-toxic generation of PET and SPECT tracers: Molecular imaging of neurological disease.

University of Glasgow

Past award

Student: Nikki Sloan

Year Award Started: 2013

Radionuclide molecular imaging is increasingly used for the early diagnosis of both neurological diseases and cancer. However, the widespread application of this technology is being limited due to current methods of generating the imaging agents which can involve unstable, highly toxic precursors. In collaboration with GE Healthcare, this project will investigate new transiton metal-catalysed chemical processes that will allow simple, easy access to PET and SPECT tracers from readily available, non-toxic starting materials. In particular, the project will investigate the use of nickel catalysts for the incorporation of radiohalogens into aromatic compounds, structural motifs that are found extensively in molecular tracers. On development of each new reaction, the versatility of this process will be demonstrated by the preparation of molecular tracers used in the imaging of cancer and neurological disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. Discovery and successful development of these new chemical transformations for the non-toxic and facile preparation of PET and SPECT imaging agents will accelerate the application of this technology across the NHS and the pharmaceutical/life sciences industries.

Research area: Neurological conditions (including stroke)


Dr Andrew Sutherland
School of Chemistry
Dr Sally Pimlott
School of Medicine, Dentsitry and Nursing

GE Healthcare Ltd