A state of the art facility that allows the development of the next-generation radiopharmaceuticals

Biomedical services

The NURA program focuses on enhancing targeted radionuclide therapies by producing innovative radionuclides and innovative radiopharmaceuticals.

The unique infrastructure of NURA includes fully equipped radiopharmacy laboratories for radiolabelling quality control and small-scale radionuclide production development. An additional hot cell facility to produce R&D radionuclides is currently being built. Other research infrastructure includes non-radioactive chemical synthesis laboratories for chelator development and a small-scale animal facility for preclinical evaluation of radiopharmaceuticals. A large-scale hot animal facility is currently under construction. When completed, this facility will enable SCK CEN to cover all fields of radiopharmaceutical development, from the isotope to preclinical evaluation supported by radiobiology and dosimetry research.

NURA R&D has developed production routes to ensure access to promising radionuclides like the well-known 177Lu and the future candidates 161Tb, 188Re and 153Sm for research purposes. Our radiopharmaceutical R&D stretches from chelator development to preclinical evaluation of radiopharmaceuticals. Furthermore, we have several research projects running within the radiopharmaceutical field linked to fundamental research within radiobiology and dosimetry.

Mol, Belgium

Experiments available

Support for targeting agent and chelator development

We can offer aid in the development of novel chelators to incorporate upcoming radionuclides and to increase chelator stability of already routinely used radionuclides. Other interest include the research into methods to conjugate chelators to carrier molecules.

NOTE: SCK CEN does not have the capabilities to produce or synthesis carrier molecules but can assist in selection of the lead compound, based on physicochemical and pharmacokinetic/dynamic properties.

Support for radiolabelling strategy and instrumentation for quality controls
SCK CEN has expertise in the optimization and evaluation of different radiolabelling conditions (pH, molar activity, temperature, concentration,..) concerning the incorporation of different radionuclides into a wide range of chelators, coupled to different targeting molecules (small molecules, peptides, antibodies, nanobodies and derivatives thereof). However, we are limited to radiometal chemistry.
Preclinical studies
We offer support in the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of radiolabelled compounds.
Chemical and radiochemical characterisation of the tracers selected
Allows quality control of the radiolabeled product via radio-TLC, radio-HPLC, ICP-MS, γ spectroscopy.
The facility is able to provide a full range of characterization with radioactive compounds in relevant cellular models.
In vitro characterisation
  • Internalisation and intracellular/subcellular distribution studies
  • Dissociation studies
  • Blocking studies
  • Efficacy/functional assays
  • Cell proliferation assay
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Radiopharmaceutical stability during storage
  • Serum stability
  • Autoradiography
  • Non-radioactive supporting experiments (IHC, WB, MTS, CFU, PCR, flow cytometry, ...)
In vivo characterisation

The facility is equipped and accredited to host and conduct animal experiments involving radioactive compounds with mouse models of predominantly oncological diseases.

  • In vivo stability studies
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Tracer biodistribution studies
  • microSPECT imaging
  • Efficacy assay (only after 2023)
  • Radiotoxicity and dosimetry study

The NURA team also includes dosimetry experts who can offer additional support.