Translational from-bench-to-bedside research activities
The TUM Department of Nuclear Medicine is one of the largest Nuclear Medicine Departments in Europe, which operates a preclinical and clinical imaging laboratory for the testing and clinical translation of new radiopharmaceuticals (Figure 6). It also operates facilities for the housing of animals treated with beta or alpha-emitting radionuclides, and a dedicated treatment ward for radionuclide therapies of patients. The preclinical facilities (PET, SPECT, CT, MRI) are integrated in the central animal housing of the School of Medicine and therefore allow seamless serial imaging studies in tumour bearing animals including complex transgenic tumour models. The Department also provides chemistry facilities for radiolabelling with a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides, including GMP facilities for clinical studies. Clinical trials are supported by a team of researchers within the department that are highly experienced in the regulatory aspects of preforming clinical trials with radionuclides. A specific strength of the department has been the rapid translation of novel molecular imaging technologies to the clinic. For this purpose, these facilities can be used for the conjugation of novel radionuclides to chemical compounds and their in vitro and in vivo characterisation. Promising radionuclides can then be moved forward all the way from their first in vitro characterisation to clinical studies.
The Dept of Nuclear Medicine at TUM has a long-standing experience in performing preclinical and clinical research in molecular imaging as well as therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine. TUM has a strong methods section were innovative imaging protocols and processing algorithms are developed and evaluated. Since more than five years, the annual number of scans averages at 4000 (PET/CT) and 1500 (PET/MRI). TUM offers fee-based access to a radiolabelling facility for the optimisation of emerging medical radiotracers, small animal imaging facility (PET/MRI and SPECT/CT) for in vivo and in vitro characterisation of newly developed tracers, and GMP facility for the first-in-human testing in context of compassionate use to boost the translation of promising tracers that are not accessible yet.