Microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip technologies can be used to miniaturise and automate chemical processes. They are ideal match for the production of PET radiotracers and move towards compact technologies will may offer a step change in the production methods of radiotracer production in the UK and around the world.
The radiolabelled sugar [18F]FDG is used in 90% of the UK PET scans (although this is gradually changing). In order to tailor treatments to patients (stratified medicine) and adopt a more personalised approach there needs to be clinical access to a greater number of radiotracers. This can only be achieved with new technologies where entire laboratories can be replaced with equipment which would fit on a table top.
Low volumes for tracer production and efficient compact quality control are required to be able to deliver these diagnostic drugs. The University of Hull has a 20 year track record in the development of microfluidic and lab-on-a-chip devices and is now turning this expertise to focus on lab-on-a-chip devices for radiochemistry and quality control. We have already filed four patents on PET applications of the technologies we have developed and have a fifth in preparation (research funded by a grant from the Daisy Appeal charity).
Our aim is to bring the world leading Hull expertise in this area to clinical application by combining next generation low energy cyclotrons with lab-on-a-chip microfluidic devices.