This was a meeting funded by the SINAPSE SPIRIT initiative aimed at developing novel and collaborative approaches to Knowledge Exchange in Translational Imaging. The aim of the meeting was to cover all aspects of chemical synthesis relating to the development of new materials for pre-clinical and clinical imaging. Selected highlights of the meeting were:

  • Professor Veroniqu Gouverneur from the University of Oxford outlined her research into novel fluorine chemistry with the final aim of applying this work to F18 radiochemistry for PET imaging. Novel nucleophilic and electrophilic reactions were outlined using novel solid-phase support chemistry. It was apparent that, while not always directly translatable from F18 chemistry, basic chemistry research is essential to increase the tool box for incorporation of F18 into biological compounds.
  • Dr Jan Passchier from Imanova outlined the factors that should be taken into account when developing novel PET radiopharmaceuticals. Although this talk outlined the incredible difficulties in successful radiopharmaceutical development, Dr Passchier suggested that awareness of these factors can greatly increase the chance of success.
  • Dr Danielle Vugts from the VU, Amsterdam presented their work with Zr89- labelled antibodies for imaging of tumours. She showed how the uptake of Zr89- labelled antibodies can be used to predict response to antibody-targeted radiotherapy using Y90-labelled antibodies.
  • Professor Andre Luxen (Liege) outlined how the Liege group has been working towards performing fluorine radiochemistry on microfluidic chips. One major advance has been ability to concentrate fluoride using ion exchange resins, eliminating the need for drying.
  • Professor Neil Thomas (Nottingham) presented their work in functionalising apoferritin with a variety of motifs that would permit multimodal imaging. His particular interest was in using apoferritin for stablising quantum dots, and visualing them in tumour cells.
  • Professor David Parker (Durham) presented a number of approaches to increasing the contrast for MR imaging agents. One approach was to change the co-ordination chemistry of Gd agents. He also presented a novel Gd-labelled MR imaging agent for imaging the glutamate system. There are still many barriers to cross before this becomes a clinical useful technology.


Professor Wyper, Director of SINAPSE wound up the meeting. As a physicist in a sea of chemists and biological scientists, he complemented all speakers for the clarity of their presentations and the audience for their enthusiastic response to the talks. He highlighted Dr Vugts’ presentation, as a compelling demonstration of the practical value of the scientific endeavor.

Sally Pimlott and Susan Champion

Dec 2011