Institut f. Pharmazeut. Wissenschaften
Phone: +41 44 633 7463
Radiopharmaceutical research and development is carried
out by the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Science as a part of the PSI Life Science
Department and the Professorship of Radiopharmacy at ETH together with the PET chemistry
group at the USZ. The common theme consists of the search for radionuclide-labeled tracer
molecules, which bind to specific targets in the body. Such radiopharmaceuticals are
applied either systemically into the blood stream or locally to patients and due to their
specific molecular binding properties combined with the emitted radiation, they allow to
detect aberrant biochemical structures and functions. In addition they can be used to
deliver cytotoxic radiation to tumour cells.
Keywords: PET-tracer, radioligand, in vivo imaging, in vivo pharmakokinetic, drug development
1 Project Leader, 2 Ph.D. senior researchers, 2 Ph.D. postdocs, 2 engineers, 1 technician, P.D. students
In an effort to improve our understanding of the processes involved in
the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, our current research on PET/SPET-
(PET=Positron Emission Tomography; SPET=Single Photon Emission Tomography) tracers allows
the in vivo study of neurotransmitters, their metabolites and related enzymes. In order to
examine the undisturbed physiological behaviour of molecules native to the body, the
physiological and pharmacological parameters of the corresponding radiopharmaceutical must
be identical or as close as possible to the natural substance. This is guaranteed when an
available inactive atom within the natural substance can be substituted with a
corresponding active isotope (e.g. 12C
substituted by 11C). In this way precise
quantitative tracer studies, which are the basis of an accurate diagnostic evaluation, can
be made. However, in many cases this "isotope exchange" is not possible and one
must resort to other radionuclides such as 18F
or 123I. In such cases it is necessary to
evaluate to which extent the altered radiopharmaceutical reflects the natural substance.
In the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) the glutamatergic NMDA-receptors plays a key role in mediating synaptic excitation. The NMDA-receptor is implicated in many neurological disease (eg. Stroke, Alzheimer's). Overactivation of this receptor triggers a cascade of events that leads to cell death. We are therefore interested in developing together with pharmaceutical companies radioligands that could be used to map the various binding sites of the NMDA-receptor complex using PET as imaging modality.
Furthermore radiotracers for the dopamine and serotonine transporter as well as for the nicotinergic receptor-system have been established with the goal of studying the effects of drug abuse (e.g. ecstasy).
Fully equipped laboratories (inactive and radioactive), PET-Cyclotron and PET-Scanner for animal and human studies.
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