Development of novel acyclic chelators for gallium-68 and scandium-44 used in PET

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Imaging & Biomedical Engineering


This proposal sets out to make the next generation of radiotracers using gallium-68 and scandium-44 for use positron emission tomography (PET), which can be rapidly radiolabelled under physiological conditions for easy translation into the clinic and make the process of production of imaging agent significantly quicker and easier for the radipharmist to undertake. this project is designed to take the novel ligands and apply them to the clinical equipment used currently for production of imaging agents and make this process faster and more efficient. This project will develop a series of bifunctional ligands for this to allow for imaging of prostate cancer using gallium-68 and scandium-44, and validate the radiolabeling potential in the latest microfluidic technology for rapid translation to radiopharmacy use for GMP production.

These agents will be capable of taking a radiolabel directly to a cancerous site and allowing the tumour to be easily visualized by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Using this information, a related carrier molecule will then deliver a radioactive payload to the cancerous tumour with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. The guiding system will comprise peptide groups which have an affinity for motifs (receptors) that are overexpressed at the cancerous tumour.

The named research groups have been selected given that they contribute complementary expertise to that available in the PIs group at KCL and Hull, with a mix of inorganic chemistry, biology, PET imaging and microfluidic technology. Regular meetings/workshops between the named groups, clinicians and radiopharmacists will ensure a validation pathway for the new agents.

Use of local science forums and blogs will enable the team to engage with the public and patients.

This project will progress with commercialization in mind and the need to minimise both the complexity (number of steps) of the design of these chelators and also the need to optimize wider utilization at the 'bed-side', i.e. mild conditions and limited radioactive steps.