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Radiochemistry Research -

Our research group is working on a novel electrochemical solvent exchange and anodic oxidation method for 18F-fluorination of electron rich aromatic molecules through direct nucleophilic substitution. This will provide wider accessibility to probes such as 18F-DOPA which have traditionally been synthesized through electrophilic fluorination.

We will integrate this technique with low-cost and easy-to-use devices, in collaboration with the UCLA Crump Institute, which employ microfluidic chips for synthesizing diverse arrays of PET molecular imaging probes. These platforms will enable basic and clinical scientists to investigate the biochemistry and biology of cancer in vivo, from mouse models to patients. Our group is also developing new synthetic pathways for several classes of molecular imaging probes. Examples of current studies include optimization work on the stereospecific synthesis of 4-18F-Glutamine analogs and late stage fluorination of 2’-[18F] pyrimidine-based nucleosides such as 1-(2’-deoxy-2’- [18F]-FluoroArabinofuranosyl)Cytosine ([18F]FAC).

The UCLA biomedical cyclotron facility provides researchers and clinicians with a wide variety of PET biomarkers. The Radiochemistry/Cyclotron Laboratory of the Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division has two Siemens RDS-112 cyclotrons. The cyclotrons are 11MeV negative ion, self-shielded, and computer controlled. They can generate external beams of 50µA and produce Curie levels of positron emitting radioisotopes. All the compounds produced for human injection are produced under current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). We produce more than thirty different PET biomarkers to support human and animal PET scans. The facility also has a separate organic chemistry laboratory where multi-step syntheses of tracer precursors and non-radioactive standards can be performed

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