The core facility includes a biomedical cyclotron (Siemens Eclipse) capable of producing positron emitting radionuclides used for positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging. The LLU cyclotron is securely housed in an underground facility located on the basement level of the Chan-Shun Pavilion. Adjacent to the cyclotron room, the LLU Radiochemistry Laboratory is equipped with three inter-connected hot cells (large lead structures used to shield personnel from radiation exposure). The hot cells house, a 11C synthesis chemistry module, a 18F synthesis chemistry module, and the third hot cell is used as a dispensing cell and is equipped with remote manipulators and dose calibrators. Radioisotopes produced by the cyclotron are sent via underground tubing directly into the hot cells allowing on-site synthesis of custom radiotracers. The chemistry modules support production of a wide range of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging biomarkers. All instrumentation (HPLC and gas chromatograph) necessary to provide purification and quality control of radiopharmaceuticals produced for human use in the laboratory is installed. We anticipate that the radiochemistry lab, through collaborations with clinical departments, will be heavily involved in producing PET radiotracers for molecular imaging in human clinical trials. Fees for radiotracer production for outside academic institutions or private industry will be set up on a contract basis.
The current MRI area of the Imaging Laboratory houses a small bore 11.7T MR Scanner that provides in-vivo animal imaging, bio-specimen imaging and MR spectroscopy. Future expansion of this laboratory should include a larger bore MR scanner/spectrometer to enable scanning of larger animals, a PET/CT animal imager to allow testing of new radiotracers developed in the radiochemistry lab in animals before translating to human research, as well as, optical imaging such as, fluorescence and bioluminescence. The instrumentation will support the development of reagents and approaches that will reveal in-vivo changes at the molecular and cellular level such that a greater understanding can be gained in animal models. Services provided by this center will include imaging expertise, assistance with study design, and radiotracer development and will be offered to all LLU researchers and clinicians as well as scientists in other academic institutions and private industry. Fees for imaging are set up on a fee for time basis.