Laboratory for Radiopharmacy
Welcome to the website of the Laboratory of Radiopharmacy of the KU Leuven !
The Laboratory of Radiopharmacy is a research laboratory of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the KU Leuven and develops new radiopharmaceuticals which are radiolabelled molecules used for clinical diagnosis and basic research (molecular imaging) or therapy. The Laboratory of radiopharmacy is part of the IMIR (In vivo Molecular Imaging Research) centre of excellence
Tracking molecules in the body in-vivo
Diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals are radiolabelled with short-lived radioisotopes that upon their decay emit gamma or X-rays allowing to visualise the dynamic distribution and quantification of the labelled molecules in the body in-vivo using dedicated camera's (PET or SPECT camera's).
Radionuclide imaging thus not only provides unique opportunities for specific clinical diagnosis, but opens a window to visualise in-vivo physiological function and the expression of specific proteins (receptors, transporters, enzymes, ...) to study their modulation in disease or secondary to (pharmacological) treatment.
Radionuclide imaging strongly depends on the availability of specific radiotracers (radiopharmaceuticals), the development of which is pursued in our lab.
Using ionising radiation to fight cancer
Radiopharmaceuticals for therapy apply the ionising radiation to specifically destroy malignant cells in which the radiopharmaceutical accumulates due to specific molecular interaction. The specificity of this accumulation depends on binding to proteins which are specifically expressed in tumor cells.
Radionuclide therapy thus also critically depends on the development of specific radiopharmaceuticals, the development of which is also pursued in our lab
Research projects in our lab typically span from bench-to-bedside and involve all aspects of drug development
- drug design and chemical synthesis of ligands, precursors and reference compounds
- radiochemistry (incorporation of the radionuclide in the target compound) using automated synthesis modules
- purification (HPLC, SPE) and formulation for IV injection
- analysis (LC-MS,HPLC, TLC, GC)
- in-vitro evaluation, in-vivo evaluation in small animals,
- first-in-man and early phase clinical evaluation (in close collaboration with the Department of Nuclear Medicine)
Research projects are both site initiated but also in the framework of academia-(pharmaceutical) industry cooperations.
If you are interested in joining our team to participate in this exciting research or to start a cooperation, contact one of the academic staff members
Thank you for your visit!