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Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre

Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Studying at Cambridge

Radio Chemistry


For positron emission tomography studies at the WBIC and other nearby PET centres, a range of PET radiopharmaceuticals labelled with short-lived radionuclides, such as oxygen-15 (t1/2 = 2 min), nitrogen-13 (t1/2 =10 min), carbon-11 (t1/2 = 20 min) and fluorine-18 (t1/2 = 110 min) are produced at the WBIC Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry laboratories.

Radiochemistry Laboratory
Molecular Imaging Chemistry Laboratory


The present range of PET tracers implemented for regular productions are outlined below.

Radiotracer Preparation Equipment

[15O]Water Hidex [15O]water system

[15O]Carbon Monoxide GE Process Cabinet

[15O]Oxygen GE Process Cabinet

[18F]FDG Coincidence (GE) Synthesizer

[18F]Fallypride GE TRACERLAB FXn module

[18F]FMISO GE TRACERlab MX module + HPLC

[18F]FLT GE TRACERlab MX module + HPLC

[11C]Flumazenil “loop” system or GE TRACERlab FX-C module

[11C]Raclopride GE TRACERlab FX-C module

[11C]PK11195 “Disposable” synthesis system or GE TRACERlab FX-C module

[11C]PIB GE TRACERlab FX-C module

[11C]MTO GE TRACERlab FX-C module

[11C]MHED GE TRACERlab FX-C module


The Laboratory


The outer ("cold") lab is approximately 40 sq m and is radiologically classified as supervised.  The laboratory is equipped with 2 fume cupboards, a shielded process cabinet, a fridge/freezer, benchwork, several HPLCs for research, a GC, a drying oven and water process equipment.  Also installed is a workstation for initiating and analysing the radioactivity emissions monitoring system.

The inner ("hot") lab accommodates the radiopharmaceutical production and preparation equipment housed in lead lined “hot cells”.  This consists of a set of stacked synthesis boxes containing two hot cells with hinged doors, one large “research” hot cell with a sliding front door, one dispensing hot cell and a bank of four mini swing-door hot cells. 

The stacked, “research” and dispensing hot cells contain acrylic doors to maintain air-tight integrity. 

Each cell is provided with monitored air extract to protect against gaseous radio-activity leaks into the room. 









Additionally, the laboratory is equipped with a work bench and a lead-shielded workstation housing calibrated radioactivity measuring equipment. 

Air quality within the room is maintained at class D by virtue of a pre and HEPA filtered air supply providing a positive differential pressure between the room and the outside environment.

The QC room is accessed from the production room. This room accommodates analytical equipment consist of three HPLC system and data acquisition computers. The room also accommodates a fridge, freezer, cyclotron control computer and storage of chemicals/consumables for GMP preparations.

The room also accommodates a class 3 isolator linked to the radiochemistry laboratory.



Lab Equipment

Two GE MeI Modules -- Automated modules for the radiosynthesis of the radiolabelling precursor [11C]iodomethane.

Coincidence FDG Synthesizer -- Computer controlled automated system for the preparation of [18F]FDG.

GE TRACERlab MXFDG -- Computer controlled automated system for the preparation of [18F]FDG, [18F]FMISO and [18F]FLT.

FDG Dispensing Unit -- An automated module for the dispensing radiopharmaceuticals into sterile vials.

GE TRACERlab FX -- Computer controlled automated system for preparation of [18F]Fallypride and other [18F]fluoride derived radiopharmaceuticals.

Nuclear Interface Synthesizer -- Computer controlled automated system for the preparation of [11C]Flumazenil, [11C]Raclopride, [11C]PK11195 and other [11C]methylation derived radiopharmaceuticals.

“Micro-reactor” module -- A in-house designed automated module for the preparation of [11C]Flumazenil.

GE Process Cabinet -- A component of the PETtrace cyclotron system for the production of [15O]Carbon monoxide and purification of [15O]oxygen.

[15O]Water system -- An automated module for the continuous or batch preparations of [15O]water.

Dionex HPLC system -- Consisting of pump (IP20) Carbopac ion exchange column and electrochemical detector (ED40) in series with a radioactivity detector. Used for radiochemical analysis of [18F]FDG.

Two Gilson HPLC Systems -- Consisting of pumps (one 307 isocratic module, one combination 305 and 307 gradient module), C18 HPLC columns and variable wavelength detectors (118) in series with radioactivity detectors Used for the radiochemical analysis of carbon-11 and fluorine-18 radiopharmaceuticals.

Perkin Elmer Autosytems XL -- Gas chromatography system consisting of a thermocouple detector installed in series with a radioactivity detector, used of the radiochemical analysis of [15O]oxygen and [15O]carbon monoxide. Flame ionisation detector used for solvent residue analysis.

Envair Containment Dispensing Safety cabinet (Isolator) -- Used for preparation of dispensing vials and all manipulations requiring Class A environment.


For more information on the Radiochemistry facilities, contact Rob Smith.



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Engineering Projects

We also engage in radiochemistry and cyclotron related engineering projects. Click here for more information.

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