Dirk Bender, May 2016

Many illnesses are caused by irregularities in certain receptor systems and/or metabolic disorders.  
PET is a unique technique used to study these disorders. However, the quality of a PET examination is only as good as the tracer used. 
A wide range of radioactive tracers, for many different procedures, already exist. However the number of tracers is far from sufficient, and there is a constant need to develop new tracers.

A large part of the radiochemistry research projects involves the development of  tracers used in the diagnosis of dementia and oncological diseases. These research projects are mainly carried out in collaboration with external partners from the pharmaceutical industry and universities.

This research involves many steps; identifying interesting substances based on information from several areas, which include in vitro or literature data, retrieval of original compounds and start materials, the development of labelling techniques and preclinical testing in research animals.
If the tracer shows useful in preclinical tests, the next step is using it in a clinical trial.

The chemists have a great deal of experience with this type of research, and can often develop and test a new tracer within a few days. 

As well as the development of new tracers, basic radiochemistry research is an important part of the PET Centre’s radiochemistry research profile. 
The range of labelling techniques is limited and many interesting molecules cannot be labelled using known techniques, due to the limiting effect of the rapid radioactive decay. 
The development of new, quick and efficient labelling is therefore crucial in radiochemistry research.

The PET Centre chemists work closely together with many groups at Aarhus University and with collaborators in Sweden, Germany and England. 
The department´s radiochemistry unit has also taken part in EU COST Actions and has hosted several Marie Curie scholarships as well as taking part in EU FP 6 collaboration projects.