What is radiopharmacy?

It is the aim of this site to provide insights into the science of radiopharmacy and its fields of application in a medical context. You will also find information on the properties of radionucleides, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and the tracer principle.

The field of radiopharmacy is dealing with development and final production (GMP) of radioactively labeled compounds for application in diagnosis and therapy. Those compounds allow to assess metabolic processes. By using Single-Photon-Emission-Tomography (SPECT) and, most importantly, Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) metabolic functions are analyzed by registration outside of the body. That approach is of particular interest since it gives the possibility of using small molecules as radiopharmaceuticals. Thus, it is possible to analyze essential metabolic functions such as metabolism of glucose (energy supply), amino acids (protein synthesis) or neurotransmitters (receptor binding).

In addition, applications in therapy are efficiently realized often by the same compound, used in diagnosis, if choosing a different radionuclide well suited for therapy such as Yttrium-90 or Lutetium-177.

In general, the registered PET signal reflects the metabolism ongoing within the body, although the registration is performed outside.

Most importantly, the concentrations of the radiopharmaceuticals are very low (<10-6g) so that the metabolic pathways to be studied are not affected by the particular is examinations.
The PET measurements are combined with CT or MRT and, thus, the metabolic data are precisely localized anatomically.