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History Nuclear Medicine in Groningen


The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging is one of the oldest nuclear medicine institutes in the Netherlands and –in fact- the world. It was in de the mid-fifties of the 20th century that Prof. Martien G. Woldring was asked to evaluate the possibilities of radioactive substances in medicine. One of the first options to be used in medicine was the then new Radioactive Immuno Assay (RIA) for in vitro measurements. In the course of the 1960’s first a meandering NaI detector for in vivo measurements and later a gamma camera was acquired together with the 99mTc generator. All these in vitro and in vivo diagnostic measurements were carried out in the very former Clinic for Internal Medicine of the ‘General and Provincial Academic Hospital’ as the UMCG was called in those days.

In 1972 a new research group, headed by Prof. W. Vaalburg, was started exploiting the potential of  cyclotron produced radionuclides in research and clinical medicine using the then recently available cyclotron of the nuclear physics research institute KVI.

This combined research of the Organic Chemistry Department, the KVI and the hospital also led to the development of dual headed gamma camera systems operating in coincidence: “Poor men’s PET”. All together this research was rather successful and led to the design of a complete new PET Center in the new hospital.

In the beginning of 1991 the PET Center started its work as an independent entity.
In 2005 a new professorship in Nuclear Medicine was created for a combined new department and Prof. Rudi Dierckx was appointed as the new head of the combined Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. Funding for a µPET, µCT and a µSPECT was acquired. And new clinical equipment (SPECT, SPECT/CT, PET/CT) was installed  in 2009/2010. Also a GMP facility was built for the production of positron emitting radiopharmaceuticals In 2013 the renewal programme was completed with the acceptance of a new 18 MeV proton cyclotron.