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Research Topics

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Research at the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging focuses on the development and validation of new molecular imaging applications. Molecular imaging research has a highly multidisciplinary character and requires the contribution of many specialists, including chemists, pharmacists, physicists, biologist and physicians. All of these disciplines are present in the scientific staff of the department.

>25 years experience

At the department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, there is already more than 25 years of experience in the development of new PET radiopharmaceuticals. Consequently, a large portfolio of PET tracers – including a number of unique tracers – is already available for studies in both animals and humans. The department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has established close contacts with various clinical departments. In collaboration with a wide range of clinicians, the department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging aims to bridge the gap between basic science and clinical applications in joint translational research projects. This has already led to the successful implementation of new molecular imaging applications in clinical routine.

Research topics

Research projects in the field of oncology include imaging of drug targets in e.g. breast and prostate cancer, application of radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies, imaging of neuroendocrine tumors with radiolabeled neurotransmitter precursors and therapy planning for radiotherapy.

The main research topics in cardiology are the imaging of vulnerable arteriosclerotic plaques, myocardial perfusion and sympathic innervation.

Neuroscience research involves imaging of molecular processes in neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric and stress-related disorders.

Inflammation is a relatively new research topic that is gaining more and more attention. Besides a strong research line on imaging of brain inflammation, inflammation research also addresses imaging of immune cells and detection of (fungal) infections. 

International collaboration

The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has established structural international research collaborations with academic partners in -amongst others- Brazil (Sao Paulo), Mexico (Mexico City), Japan (Tokyo), China (Beijing), South-Africa (Stellenbosch/Cape Town) and Italy (Rome, Bari). To stimulate the scientific output, two visiting professors, A. Signore (inflammation research) and H. Zaidi (physics) have been appointed.

Industrial partners

Besides collaboration with academic partners, the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging also participates in structural precompetitive research collaborations with industries. But the department is also equiped for contract research (work-for-hire) and has done so for various pharmaceutical industries. For this purpose, state-of-art equipment and laboratory facilities (GMP) are available. Contract research is often performed with one of the CRO’s (PRA and QPS) that are present on the premises of the hospital.