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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W036428/1
Title: A Research Dedicated Mini-Cyclotron for PET Ligand Discovery
Principal Investigator: Gouverneur, Professor V
Other Investigators:
Anthony, Professor DC Davis, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Oxford Chemistry
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2022 Ends: 31 May 2024 Value (£): 771,540
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Chemical Biology
Co-ordination Chemistry Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Mar 2022 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2022 - Panel 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Positron Emission Tomography is a non-invasive molecular imaging technology to visualise vivo chemical and biological processes. In nuclear medicine, PET scans enable the diagnosis of diseases and the monitoring of disease progression (oncology, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiology), thereby guiding personalised healthcare. In pharmaceutical drug development, PET offers vital information on in vivo biodistribution, metabolism, and target engagement. The recent availability of total-body PET scanner offers unique opportunities in imaging, not least the study of multi-systems diseases such as cancer and dementia. PET inevitably requires molecules labelled with cyclotron-produced radioisotopes that decay by emitting a positron. When these radioisotopes are short-lived fluorine-18 (110 mins), carbon-11 (20 mins), nitrogen-13 (10 mins) and oxygen-15 (2 mins), they must be generated near to the PET scanners otherwise the radioactivity will have disappeared/decayed before it can be used. The requested compact cyclotron will supply Oxford with these radioisotopes for breakthrough innovation in PET ligand and radiotracer discovery.

For further advances in experimental molecular imaging including PET, innovation is paramount to produce the next generation of first-in-class PET radiotracers for usage in PET clinical centres in the UK and worldwide. We propose to create in Oxford and the Thames Valley region a discovery research centre for experimental molecular imaging that will harness world-leading local expertise in numerous aspects of underpinning sciences such as (bio)chemistry, (bio)physics, computer science, mathematics, biology, and multiple translational disciplines, to invent novel labelled (bio)molecules for PET imaging applications. New chemistry combined with artificial intelligence planning will provide highly effective and selective methods to label (bio)molecules precisely and reliably. These labelled molecules will enable a broad range of fundamental research such as in depth understanding of dynamic biological systems, or in depth understanding of plant physiology, which is incredibly important for climate-sensitive agriculture and food supply. In addition, new labelled molecules will enable early detection and more generally precision medicine to improve patient care, and facilitate the invention of novel therapeutics and diagnostics for oncology, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiology. The mini-cyclotron we request with this application is essential for this vision to materialise by providing on demand and to a large number of users, the short-lived radioisotopes necessary to invent, produce and test novel labelled (bio)molecules for PET imaging.

The anticipated additional benefits include raising the profile of the UK in the field of molecular imaging and leveraging existing UK imaging infrastructure, driving interdisciplinary (inter)national collaboration with academia and industries, and accelerating knowledge exchange and skills across the various disciplines necessary for PET imaging programmes to thrive. From a socio-economic viewpoint, advances in PET imaging can enable healthcare savings, grow and create new businesses in molecular imaging, pharmaceutical and even agrochemical sciences.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk