The UCL radiochemistry group was established in 2008 as part of a collaboration between UCL Department of Chemistry, UCL Division of Medicine and UCLH. Generous funding from HEFCE and CBRC allowed construction of a state-of-the-art radiochemistry facility at the UCL Campus, which was completed in 2010. The group aims to bridge expertise across chemistry, biological sciences and medicine to develop methods for labelling and bioconjugation, support preclinical imaging and translational studies, and to develop tracers for diagnostic imaging. We are also exploring the use of imaging and radiochemical techniques to accelerate drug discovery.
The group recently developed a novel three-component labelling reaction for formation of trisubstituted iodotriazoles directly from aqueous radioiodide, and the parent azide and alkynes. The method is technically straightforward, high yielding and robust, allows rapid access to highly functionalized tracers. We have used this to prepare dual optical and nuclear labelling reagents, and demonstrated imaging of antibody distribution from the cellular level to the whole body (multiscale imaging). The group has also made progress on new 18F chemistry, which is currently implemented for development of metabolic tracers for imaging of drug efflux pumps. In addition, we are working on tracers for imaging of voltage-gated sodium channels, development of novel analgesics, and multimodal (SPECT/MR) imaging agents for inflammation.
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