A new campus to train scientists and students and additional infrastructure underway to fully support development and preclinical evaluation of radiopharmaceuticals
The NURA initiative at SCK CEN is a dedicated programme focusing on production of therapeutic medical radionuclides and radiopharmaceutical research. The main focus is to further enhance targeted radionuclide therapy together with clinical, academic and industrial partners. Preclinical development is supported by in- house R&D and contract research together with a strong focus on developing production methods of new therapeutic radionuclides combined with large scale GMP production. The unique infrastructure centred around the NURA R&D programme includes fully equipped radiopharmacy laboratories for radiolabelling, radionuclide production development and quality control, non-radioactive chemical synthesis laboratories for chelator development and a small-scale animal facility for ex vivo, in vivo (SPECT/CT) and in vitro studies. Towards 2022 the plan is that these facilities will be further expanded with a state-of-the-art animal facility for preclinical evaluation of radiopharmaceuticals supported by radiobiology and dosimetry research. The radiochemistry facility is currently being extended with a radionuclide development hot cell laboratory and will be finished in Q3 or Q4 of 2021.
The NURA R&D programme has, in a short time, developed production routes to ensure the access to promising radionuclides like the well-known 177Lu and the future candidates 161Tb, 188Re and 153Sm for research purposes. Our radiopharmaceutical development concentrates on the development and evaluation of bifunctional chelators for the different radionuclides of interest. Furthermore, we have several PhD projects running within the field of radiopharmaceutical development linked to fundamental research within radiobiology and dosimetry.