Development of radiopharmaceuticals for functional diagnosis and radionuclide therapy

The nuclear medicine techniques, in which aradioactive compound (radiopharmaceutical) is administered to patients, and radioactivity from the agent is detected and processed into images, are used as a clinical imaging method excellent for functional diagnosis. We are conducting research into the development and clinical use of functional radiopharmaceuticals based on the characterization of pathological conditions. These studies are applications of the results of molecular imaging studies to clinical diagnosis. For example, for the diagnosis of unstable atheromatous plaques, which are a primary cause of cerebral and myocardial infarction, we noted that macrophages, observed characteristically in unstable plaques, use glucose as their major energy source, and demonstrated the effectiveness of the glucose derivative [18F]FDG. We have successfully developed radiolabeled imaging probes for tumor hypoxia region that plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis. We are simultaneously conducting research for the development of 99mTc-labeled radiopharmaceuticals with excellent radionuclide properties of 99mTc for nuclear medicine diagnosis; that is, we are systematically evaluating the formation of complexes of Tc, a transition metal, and developing functional radiopharmaceuticals labeled with 99mTc. We are also developing radiopharmaceuticals for internal radionuclide therapy with the expectation that they are effective for the treatment of tumors and for the palliation of bone pain.

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