Ultrafast reactivity and application in PET tracer synthesis

Hugo Helbert

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    865 Downloads (Pure)


    Humankind has always been seeking to understand biological processes within our body to diagnose and treat diseases. For a longtime, surgery was the only way to see what was going on inside a human body. That changed about a century ago with the emergence of molecular imaging, allowing us to observe processes at a molecular level, without the need for invasive procedures. Positron emission tomography (PET) is one of these techniques, which uses small molecules called tracers that are injected into the body and can be directed towards disease-specific markers. These tracers also contain a radioactive element ; this is essential as the radioactive decay of this element will emit a signal that travels through the human body and will be detected by a scanner. From the signal received by the scanner, it is possible to locate and quantify the amount of tracer present in the body and detect any abnormalities,which may possibly be indicative of a disease. Because these radioactive elements are unstable and rapidly degrade towards stable, non-radioactive elements, tracers cannot be bought or produced in advance, but instead they require on-site production. Carbon-11 and fluor-18 are two radioactive elements discussed in this thesis that can be used to make PET tracers. However,they degrade fast - within minutes to a few hours - and therefore they need to be incorporated into tracer molecules with ultrafast methods.The focus of this thesis was to discover new methodologies to incorporate the radioactive elements carbon-11 and fluor-18 into PET tracer molecules. These ultrafast reactions are not typically common in traditional synthetic chemistry, and if methods have been successfully translated to incorporate radioactive elements, the tracer molecules accessible are still restricted, creating a necessity for additional reactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Elsinga, Philip, Supervisor
    • Feringa, Ben L., Supervisor
    • Luurtsema, Gert, Co-supervisor
    • Szymanski, Wiktor, Co-supervisor
    Award date25-Jun-2021
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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