Project details


Medical Imaging og neuroendocrine tumors with Positron Emission Tomography

neuroendocrine tumor medical imaging PET-tracer

Prof. dr. P.H. Elsinga
W.J. Kuik

Nature of the research:
In vitro cell experiments and small animal PET-imaging

Fields of study:
oncology molecular imaging nuclear medicine

Background / introduction
The diagnosis and monitoring of people with islet cell tumors or a predisposing genetic syndrome such as Von Hippel-Lindau and Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1 currently relies on a variety of diagnostic tools (biochemical markers, MRI, CT, endoscopic ultrasound and PET imaging). A PET scan with the probe [11C]-5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan ([11C]-5-HTP) is currently one of the most sensitive methods and provides information of the localization of the lesion(s) as well as functional information (whether a lesion is indeed from neuroendocrine origin or not). This tracer is only limited available to patients because only a few PET centres worldwide are capable to perform the rather cumbersome synthesis of the tracer. Furthermore the short half life of the carbon-11 isotope (20 minutes) makes it impossible to distribute the tracer to PET centres without an on-site cyclotron.
Research question / problem definition
The aim of the PhD-project is to develop an analogue of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan that is labeled with the fluor-18 isotope, which can be produced in a facile and reproducible way. This analogue can also be distributed to PET centres without an on-site cyclotron due to the longer half-life of the fluor-18 isotope (110 minutes). Hereby the availability of a superior diagnostic tool will become available to more persons with a suspicion of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.
Your project will predominantly involve in vitro experiments with one of the fluor-18 labeled analogues of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan in the human pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cell line BON-1. Besides evaluation of the suitability of novel fluor-18 labeled analogues of 5-HTP as a PET tracer for this tumor type, other experiments focus on the elucidation of the molecular mechanism behind the cellular uptake, which is not necessarily the same as for [11C]-5-HTP. This may also result in identification of targets for pharmacological manipulation to enhance the uptake of the tracer by malignant cells and thereby improve the image quality of the PET scan. Furthermore you can get acquainted with other aspects of the research efforts within the department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, such as the production of PET radiopharmaceuticals and the in vivo experiments involving the microPET-scanner.
back to toptop